Posted Friday, 17 June 2011 16:27
DWR provides tips to keep you and the bears safe
A bear enters the cab of a truck on Boulder Mountain. Two young bears peak through cabin windows near Hobble Creek. And, just a few days ago, a mother bear and her yearling cub are seen wandering in Ogden Canyon.
Black bear sightings are being reported across Utah.
Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
From northern Utah to points down south, people are seeing bears across Utah right now. And in places they've never seen them before.
"I have lived in the canyon for 40 years," says Keith Runcles, who owns the Oaks restaurant in Ogden Canyon, "and this is the first time [I've heard of people seeing bears]."
Kevin Bunnell, mammals program coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says there are two reasons why:
Most of the bears are eating grass right now. But Bunnell says bears aren't shy at all about eating the same food people eat. And that can lead to a tragic outcome—usually for the bear.
"When a bear begins to lose its fear of people," Bunnell says, "we have a dangerous situation on our hands; a wild animal that's more likely to act aggressively towards people.
"In these situations," he says, "we sometimes have to trap and euthanize the bear to keep people safe."
Fortunately, Bunnell says doing five simple things will lessen the chance that a black bear visits your campsite or cabin area this year:
Bunnell says bears are usually attracted to people by strong smells and the food that's usually associated with the smells. By doing a few simple things, you can cut those smells down. And that will greatly reduce the chance that a bear visits your camp or cabin:
Bear safety tips
More tips on how to stay safe in bear country, including what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, are available online.
You'll be helping others too
Bunnell says if you follow these rules, you'll not only help yourself, you'll help other people too.
He says a bear may not visit your campsite while you're there. But the food you leave out and the litter you leave behind could bring a bear to that same area after you leave. And that could create a serious problem for people who camp in the area after you.
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