Grizzly 399's collared cubs in Grand Teton National Park in the spring of 2022. (Mike Koshmrl/WyoFile)

Two of famous mamma grizzly bear 399’s male cubs are on a walkabout out of Jackson Hole and into the Green River valley in Sublette County.

The 2-year-old grizzlies dispersed from their home range via separate routes, Dan Thompson, Wyoming Game and Fish large carnivore supervisor, said Tuesday. They ended up, serendipitously, near the same residential area where agency personnel are busy warning denizens to secure food, trash and feed that might draw in the habituated animals, which are accustomed to such attractants.

One of the bears got an unnatural food reward about two weeks ago, Thompson said, and the bears have “poked around some residences.” But otherwise there have been no conflicts.

“Everything’s gotten buttoned up since then,” he said of the situation after the incident. “It’s been quiet — that’s been good for the bears and people.”

“I worry about the onslaught of people looking for them.”

Wyoming Game and Fish Large Carnivore Supervisor Dan Thompson

Thompson hopes the Jackson Hole/Grand Teton National Park paparazzi scrum won’t migrate south looking for the queen mother’s two princes, he said. Grizzly 399 emerged from her den in 2020 with four cubs, and the sight of five grizzlies roaming Jackson Hole together became a worldwide spectacle for two and a half years.

“I worry about the onslaught of people looking for them,” Thompson said. “If that happens, it’s a bad deal.”

Both cubs are foraging naturally and may not be putting on a public show like what made them famous in photographer- and tourist-thick Jackson Hole.

The tracking collars provided insight to grizzly dispersal, Thompson said. The bears took different paths — one heading up the Gros Ventre River drainage, the other over Togwotee Pass and then south — before crossing from the Snake and Wind river drainages to the Green River valley.

It would make sense that the males disperse naturally away from where they were raised to set up a life elsewhere, Thompson said. Biologists wonder whether one of the other four cubs might be a female.

If so, she could set up a home range in or near Grand Teton National Park, where her mother has raised a handful of litters. But there’s no firm evidence of the two un-collared cubs’ sex or their residential ambitions, Thompson said.

Because the family got food rewards at residences in Jackson Hole, there’s some worry the two Green River males might resort to bad habits.

“They learned [about] going around residences to get food,” Thompson said.

There will also soon be cattle herds grazing in the area, including traditional cow-calf pairs. Depredation of smaller cattle has been a problem in Sublette County, resulting in the removal, sometimes lethally, of grizzlies.

Wildlife managers earlier this year warned that the four cubs were due to disperse, that they had a history of habituation to people and would not be treated differently from other grizzlies just because they were 399’s offspring.

One of the Green River sub adults has shed its collar and the second tracking device will likely drop off the other animal soon, Thompson said. Both remain tattooed and have ear tags.

For now, all is quiet on the southern front.

“There’s a lot of stuff to eat for bears right now,” Thompson said. “Most of our bears are foraging naturally.

“Give the bears space,” he said.

— Mike Koshmrl contributed reporting to this story.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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  1. Why would someone in Jackson Hole, a place where EVERYONE should know better, feed a bear?

  2. I find Dan Thompson’s comments about Jackson Hole Grand Teton National Park paparazzi scrum migrating south looking for the queen mother’s two princes interesting. He later says “I worry about the onslaught of people looking for them” and said “if that happens it won’t be good.” How absurd and what planet does Dan Thompson live on? Green River valley in Sublette county is quite large and the Green River Cattle Association grazing allotments are the largest in the state. More grizzlies are killed there annually than anywhere. A half dozen or more most years. Do you worry about those bears Mr. Thompson? God forbid those who care about bears and photograph them the “scrum paparazzi” invade public lands looking for bear princes!
    It appears that Dan Thompson’s last comment is supposed to be some kind of threat to counter the real threat of bears being killed to protect cattle grazing on public lands. For the record, I’ve never witnessed Dan Thompson in Teton Park observing grizzlies although I spent 155 days last year and so far over 90 days this year and thousands over the past 16 years documenting 399 and her offspring. Maybe Mr. Thompson should spend more time observing and enjoying bears including black bears than condoning their killing by euthanasia or other means in the name of sport or game management. Or all the over zealous trapping and radio collaring of bears for mostly redundant science resulting in serious pain, abuse and danger to the bears. Thanks too Dan for letting those of us who won one of the 22 lottery permits to kill a grizzly in the proposed grizzly hunt in 2018 that was canceled by district judge Christiansen, in the online orientation you told us how we could go to the WGFDs website to find recipes on how to cook “our” bear including how to barbecue it after we killed it. Really special! I didn’t need that information being photography scrum hunting with my camera.

  3. I don’t think that jackson hole photographers are going to trek to the Green River area to look for these two sub-adults. Give us a little bit of a break.