The second spring the mothers and “yearlings” emerge from their den. The yearlings will grow substantially over the season and they will acquire all necessary information to be on their own come next spring.
In their first summer the cubs are quite small, very cute, and cuddly looking, somewhat resembling small husky pups. Over the second season the yearlings appearance begins to change. Shorter coarse fur covers a narrow larger body. Their legs grow longer producing a gangly look. Throughout the season the yearlings strength increases substantially as they grow.
Cubs test their strength by frequent jostling and wrestling matches with their siblings or mothers, when she is in the mood. This rough-housing is part of the valuable survival skills the yearlings will continue to acquire over this last season with their mother. The amount of knowledge the yearlings gather will be the deciding factor for their future survival.
The yearlings appetite increases substantially with this growth spurt. Nursing will continue, but on a less frequent basis. As a result the yearling will begin eating everything their mother does. They will sample tender sedge grasses and herbs from May through July, sedge grass and berries till mid August, ending with berries and salmon until hibernation. The salmon appear in mid August and increase until they become profuse by early September.
In abundant years the Khutzeymateen river is solid with salmon from shore to shore, as far as the eye can see. One could literally walk across the river on their backs. This is a time of plenty for the grizzly bears.
With salmon everywhere for the taking, the female grizzly and her cubs will grow fat on the nutritious flesh of fish. This becomes apparent when they walk as waves of fat ripple down their back with each step.
By mid or late October, depending on the weather, they will den down again for the winter. This will be the last winter the cubs spend with their mother. In spring when they emerge the cubs life of comfort and security will take a dramatic change.