Large bear spotted in Yukon, awake in the middle of winter

A large bear seemingly digging for roots on a December afternoon in Yukon. (Myles Manygreyhorses - image credit)
A large bear seemingly digging for roots on a December afternoon in Yukon. (Myles Manygreyhorses - image credit)

What started off as a normal drive to work ended up being a trip Yvonne Moon will never forget.

Moon lives in the community of Faro, Yukon, but makes a six hour drive to Good Hope Lake, B.C., for work.

She was approximately 50 kilometres from Watson Lake on Highway 37, just north of the B.C. border, when she saw it.

"I was coming over a steep hill," Moon said. "I glanced over on the left hand side and I seen a grizzly bear."

Moon said she knew it was a grizzly bear by its size.

She said she drove past the bear a few times to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her.

"I could see he was digging," Moon said. "I tried to see if there was a kill. He'd been digging there for quite a while because there was quite a bit of stuff that was dug up, but I didn't see a kill."

Submitted by Yvonne Moon
Submitted by Yvonne Moon

Moon said she was scared but intrigued at the same time.

"I started taking a bunch of pictures," she said. "I tried honking my horn a few times and it didn't even budge. He didn't look scared or nothing."

Moon said in 63 years she has never once seen a grizzly bear awake in December.

"I've been raised up in the bush and we've lived in the bush our entire lives," she said. "I've been out on the trapline with my dad and different stuff like that and I've never seen a grizzly this time of year."

Moon said the bear looked to be "in good shape," which seemed to make it even more odd that the bear was out.

"This time of year when you see grizzlies out there like this, it's usually a sign that they're starving," she said. "Or obviously they haven't had enough to eat to go and hibernate, so that's sort of what struck me."

Myles Manygreyhorses
Myles Manygreyhorses

After a few minutes of taking photos, Moon continued on her way.

When she got to work, she posted the photos she had taken of the bear online. That's when people started contacting her.

"I had a conservation officer from Watson Lake contact me," she said. "I let him know what happened.

"It's just odd to see a bear this time of year."