JACKSON, Wyo. — It’s important to remember to give wildlife adequate space to keep both animals and people safe, and depending on the species the distance looks different.

As grizzly bears begin to emerge out of hibernation and animals move through backcountry hiking or skiing areas or into developed sites, it’s necessary to be aware of the space each animal needs between itself and a person to reduce stress and prevent defensive behavior.

According to Grand Teton National Park (GTNP), people should always stay at least 100 yards away from bears and wolves and at least 25 yards away from bison, elk, moose and all other wildlife. For closer views and photographs, GTNP recommends using binoculars, spotting scopes or long lenses.

Everyone should make sure they are never positioned between an adult and its offspring, no matter the distance, especially between female bears emerging with cubs. Never attempt to touch or feed wildlife.

Harassment of an animal is defined by GTNP as any human action that causes a change of behavior in that animal. The more space a person gives wildlife, the more they reduce the possibility of their own behavior resulting in harassment.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) educates people on how to recognize signs of a stressed bear indicating a person is too close and threatening personal space, food sources or offspring. Signs to look out for include vocalizations, pinned back ears, a stiffening stance, excessive drooling, head bowing and paw swiping.

Remember, Jackson Hole and GTNP is grizzly country, and people should always make sure to carry bear spray if an encounter with wildlife does escalate and is unavoidable.

Buckrail @ River

River is a Community News Reporter with a passion for wildlife, history, and unique mountain stories. She’s also a gemini, dog mom, hiker, and published poet, and has an obsession with alpine lakes and modern art.