• Steam rises off of the colorful Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces


    National Park ID,MT,WY

Frequently Asked Questions: Grizzly Bears

Where are the bears?
People who visited Yellowstone prior to the 1970s often remember seeing bears along roadsides and within developed areas of the park. Although observing these bears was very popular with park visitors, it was not good for people or bears. In 1970, the park initiated an intensive bear management program to return the grizzly and black bears to feeding on natural food sources and to reduce bear-caused human injuries and property damage. The measures included installing bear-proof garbage cans and closing garbage dumps in the park.

Bears are still sometimes seen near roads and they may be seen occasionally in the wild. Grizzly bears are active primarily at dawn, dusk, and night. In spring, they may be seen around Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge, and the East Entrance due to the trout spawning creeks in these areas. In mid-summer, they are most commonly seen in the meadows between Tower–Roosevelt and Canyon, and in the Lamar Valley. Black bears are most active at dawn and dusk, and sometimes during the middle of the day. Look for black bears in open spaces within or near forested areas. Black bears are most commonly observed between Mammoth, Tower, and the Northeast Entrance.

Are grizzly bears considered threatened or endangered?
The Yellowstone grizzly population was removed from the federal threatened species list in 2007, and has effectively remained re-listed since 2009. Regardless of its listing status, scientists will continue to monitor the long-term recovery goals for grizzly bears. See Grizzly Bears and the Endangered Species Act for more information.

Are Grizzly Bears Overly Attracted to Menstrual Odors?
The question whether menstruating women attract bears has not been completely answered. While there is no evidence that grizzly bears are overly attracted to menstrual odors more than any other odor and there is no statistical evidence that known bear attacks have been related to menstruation, certain precautions should be taken to reduce the risks of attack. The following precautions are recommended:

  • Use pre-moistened, unscented cleaning towelettes.
  • Use internal tampons instead of external pads. Do not bury tampons or pads (pack it in - pack it out). A bear may smell buried tampons or pads and dig them up. By providing bears a small food "reward," this action may attract bears to other menstruating women.
  • Place all used tampons, pads, and towelettes in double zip-loc baggies and store them unavailable to bears, just as you would store food. This means hung at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet from the tree trunk. Tampons can be burned in a campfire, but remember that it takes a very hot fire and considerable time to completely burn them. Any charred remains must be removed from the fire pit and stored with your other garbage.
  • Many feminine products are heavily scented. Use only unscented or lightly scented items. Cosmetics, perfumes, and deodorants are unnecessary and may act as an attractant to bears.

Did You Know?