Identifying Grizzly Bears
Grizzly bear are among the more impressive animals to behold. The average grizzly bear presents at over 450lbs and 6.5 feet in height. Their size varies greatly by gender. Take the average female who weighs in at 340lbs (the range is 290-400lbs), and 6 feet tall and compare that to the male grizzly bears averaging 600lbs (400-800lbs is the range). It’s not uncommon to observe bears in our US National Park system who are 8 feet tall, and 1,400lbs. Although typically brown in color, grizzlies can range in color from blonde to dark brown in color. Their claws range is length from 2-4 inches long.
The Bear Facts
Bears live an average of 24 yeas old. The average grizzly hibernates for 6 months, and does not defecate or urinate during that time. Grizzlies live on fish, varmints, birds, grasses, berries, and larger mammals including deer, caribou, moose, elk, caribou, sheep, bison, and other bears.
Grizzly bear attacks humans are few and far between, estimated at 1 in 14 million. Risks are greatest when fishing and hunting in grizzly bear country. We recommend always carrying a full canister of bear spray when deep into bear country. We also recommend practicing the use of pepper spray.
Avoiding Bear Encounters
The following steps will help to minimize the risk of a conflict with a grizzly:
- Hike in groups of 4 or greater
- Carry a bear bell and make noise to avoid accidental interactions
- Carry a full canister of bear spray that you have practiced using
- Never climb a tree to escape
- Never run to escape a bear
- Always store food in a bear-proof container
- Always keep food away from your tent or camp
- Never leave food in your car