Black bear at JHMR

A black bear was spotted Wednesday walking beneath the Sweetwater Gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Turns out bears like corn, too.

While bumping the Beatles’ “Come Together” on the Sweetwater Gondola on Wednesday, Max Martin recorded a video of a good-sized black bear padding its way through the slushy snow on Jackson Faces below him.

“Oh boy,” he’s heard saying in the video. “Oh boy.”

The black bear is the second bear to make news in Teton County in the past week. Over the weekend, a grizzly bear became the first to leave its den for the season in Yellowstone National Park, 50 or so miles north of the resort.

Other than the Yellowstone griz, Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesperson Mark Gocke said the resort’s black bear was the first he’s heard of this spring. But seeing a bear pop out of hibernation in mid-March is right on the nose, he said.

“For males, it’s about right on par,” Gocke said. “They usually start coming out of hibernation right around mid-March. Females are usually a little later, mid-April.”

Resort spokeswoman Anna Cole said a phone call from the Jackson Hole News&Guide was the first she or the resort’s operations team had heard about the bear.

“It’s news to me,” she said.

Asked about food storage at Solitude Station, which is home to a dining operation, Cole said “everything’s bear-proof.”

“They’ll emerge on property — it’s something we’re aware of,” she added. “Sounds like spring is here.”

Gocke echoed Cole’s vernal sentiment with a few words of caution.

“Sometimes we don’t think about bears for a few months for the winter and sometimes it kind of surprises people,” he said.

He recommended that people start thinking about making attractants unavailable. Garbage, bird feeders, pet food and the like are all on that list.

“It serves as a good reminder for people to make sure attractants are buttoned up,” he said.

As snow melts, Gocke said bears and humans will likely both be attracted to the same spots: low-lying areas that are starting to bare up. If you want to go for a hike as the melt continues, he recommended taking some bear spray with you.

And if you’re out walking and see a lot of ravens and magpies in an area, steer clear of it. There may be a bear nearby feeding on winter-killed game.

“Be bear aware when you’re out there hiking this spring,” Gocke said.

The resort asks guests to respect wildlife and report on-mountain sightings to ski patrol, Cole said. The JH Insider app has a button that will patch you through to patrollers. They’ll decide whether to close the area or warn guests about the animal.

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Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

Teton County Reporter

Previously the Scene editor, Billy Arnold made the switch to the county beat where he's interested in exploring Teton County as a model for the rest of the West. When he can, he still writes about art, music and whatever else suits his fancy.

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