What States Have Grizzly Bears: Baring Bear Facts

The grizzly bear is one of the largest land predators in the world. These bears are a subspecies of brown bears living in North America. First discovered in 1804, grizzlies have become one of North America’s most famous animals. 

It’s essential to be aware of where grizzlies live so you can take necessary precautions when hiking or camping in their territory. 

This article lists all the states with grizzly bears and reviews some fascinating facts about them that you might not have known.

What States Have Grizzly Bears?

While you’ll find them in several US states, five contain the majority of grizzly habitats: Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. You’ll also find them in the southern parts of Colorado.

Although they once roamed across most of the continent, their range has been drastically reduced in the last century. Today, you’ll find grizzlies in pockets of forest and mountain ranges in Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Grizzly Bears

Grizzly bears are one of the largest land-based predators in North America. The grizzly bear is a subspecies of brown bears and can weigh up to 800 pounds.

Grizzlies are typically found in western Canada and the United States, but they have been known to wander into Mexico.

Grizzlies live in various habitats, including forests, mountains, tundra, and alpine meadows. They prefer areas with plenty of covers, where they can find food and shelter.

Grizzlies are omnivores; they eat various plants and animals and are easily recognizable by their brown fur and large size. 

Their diet consists of berries, grasses, fish, insects, and small mammals. They are also known to scavenge carcasses. 

Despite their fearsome reputation, grizzly bears are not typically known to be aggressive towards humans. More people are killed by other black bears every year than grizzlies.

They will usually only attack humans if they feel threatened. However, it is still essential to take precautions when encountering these animals in the wild as they can be very dangerous. Always keep a safe distance and never attempt to feed or pet a grizzly.

The grizzly bear is a conservation-dependent species. While their population is considered healthy, it has been noted that grizzly bears require large habitat areas to support themselves. 

Due to the large size of their home range, which can be upwards of 500 square miles (1,300 km2 ), conservation-dependent populations may be affected by even small changes in their environment. 

For example, as global warming affects the arctic region, grizzly bears lose important sea ice habitats. As a result, scientists have observed some populations eating migratory birds such as snow geese.

Why Are They Endangered? 

Grizzly bears once roamed throughout North America, but their populations have declined significantly in the last century. Grizzlies are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Although currently listed as a threatened species, many organizations and individuals protect these animals. 

Grizzlies are essential for maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, and they are also a source of tourist revenue for local communities.

Grizzly bears are currently listed as a threatened species due to numerous threats to their survival. These threats include;

  • Hunting/poaching
  • Loss of habitat and fragmentation
  • Interactions with humans. 
  • Climate change

The grizzly bear is one species most at risk of extinction in the lower 48 states. About 1,500 only grizzlies are left in the lower 48 states, 55,000 in North America in total, 30,000 o them existing in Alaska.

Characteristics Of Grizzly Bears

  • Grizzly bears are the largest and most powerful predators in North America. They are also one of the most feared animals in the wild.
  • Grizzlies are opportunistic predators, which means they will eat whatever is available to them. 
  • They are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. Their diet consists of berries, fruit, leaves, roots, grasses, insects, small mammals, and occasionally larger prey. They prefer to eat ungulates (hoofed animals), such as deer.
  • They are easily recognizable by their distinctive shoulder hump, brown fur, and long claws. 
  • Grizzlies can weigh from 200 to 800 pounds and stand over six-eight feet tall.
  • They are typically solitary animals but sometimes form groups called “clans.” 
  • They are excellent hunters and can survive in a variety of climates.
  • Despite their size and strength, grizzlies are surprisingly agile and have been known to outrun deer and can run up to 35 miles per hour. 
  • They are also excellent swimmers and can swim more than 100 miles daily. 
  • Grizzlies have a long, thick fur coat that helps them stay warm in cold climates.
  • Their fur can vary in color from light brown to almost black, with a grizzled pattern of white hairs along their backs.


Grizzlies can live 20-30 years in the wild, but some live up to 44 years in captivity. Females live longer than men because their lives are less risky; they do not engage in seasonal breeding conflicts like males.

Subspecies Of Grizzly Bears

There are four subspecies of grizzly bears in North America: the coastal brown bear, the interior grizzly bear, the American black bear, and the Kodiak bear. The classification of these subspecies is based on their location and the climate they live.

The Coastal Bear

You’ll find the coastal brown bear in Alaska and Canada. These bears are the smallest of the four subspecies, distinguished by their lighter coloration and smaller size.

The Interior Bear

You” find the interior grizzly bear in the Rocky Mountains, interior Alaska, and the Great Plains. These bears are the largest of the four subspecies, distinguished by their darker coloration.

The Kodiak Bear

Kodiak bears live exclusively on Kodiak Islands, in the Gulf of Alaska. Kodiak bears are the largest land carnivore in North America and weigh 1,500 pounds.

Kodiak bears have a different appearance than other grizzly bears. They are typically darker in color, with a less pronounced shoulder hump. 

They also have a distinctive “mushroom” shaped head. Kodiak bears are omnivorous and eat both plants and animals. 

Kodiak bears are different from other grizzly bears in several ways. For one, they are much more significant – the average male Kodiak bear is about 25% larger than the average male grizzly bear. 

They are also known as Alaska brown bears. Brown bears are primarily solitary animals, except for females with cubs or males during mating season. They usually have large territories, which they mark with their scent. 

In areas where they are frequently hunted, brown bears tend to be more nocturnal than other areas where they are not hunted as often. 

The Black Bear

The American black bear is found in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains. You’ll find it in forests, mountains, meadows, and even near cities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Black bears are solitary animals except for mothers with cubs or a male that his female mate has rejected. 

During mating season, males will compete for females by roaring and making loud noises to show their masculinity.


Grizzlies are one of the most challenging animals to study in the wild, as they are very wary of humans. 

As a result, we still do not know much about grizzly bear behavior, including their reproductive habits.

Grizzlies mate in the late spring or early summer, typically between May and July. The gestation period is about six to seven months. 

Grizzly bears reproduce slowly, and female grizzlies usually give birth to one or two cubs every year. 

Cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years. During that time, the mother bear will teach them how to find food, avoid danger, and generally survive in the wild. Cubs also learn to behave like grizzlies by watching their mothers and other adult bears.

Grizzly Bear Hunting: Where Is It Legal? 

The grizzly bear is a North American mammal threatened under the Endangered Species Act; this means that hunting these animals is restricted in the lower states of the US.

Some states in the United States allow grizzly bear hunting, while other states have banned the sport. 

The only state where it’s legal to hunt grizzlies in Alaska. Canada is one of the few countries that allow grizzly bear hunting. 

The Canadian province of British Columbia is home to the largest population of grizzly bears globally, and hunting is allowed in most areas of the province. The Northwest Territories and Yukon also allow bear hunting.

There are also grizzly bear populations in Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, where hunting is illegal. 

The hunting season is typically open from September through November in these states. Hunters must have a valid hunting license and comply with all hunting regulations.


You’ll find grizzly bears in various habitats across North America, including forests, meadows, and even tundra. 

While their distribution is patchy, grizzlies can be found in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming in the US and British Columbia and Yokun in Canada

This article was a comprehensive guide to the states that have grizzly bears. We hope you found it helpful. Thanks for reading!

John Taylor
John Taylor
John Taylor is a seasoned writer with more than 10 years of experience as a professional. He has written professionally for many different organizations, such as The Atlantic and the Boston Globe. John can write on any topic you need him to cover, from business writing to creative nonfiction pieces. His portfolio speaks for his skills; he's not only an experienced writer but also an excellent editor and researcher!


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