May 17, 2023 - News

How to avoid black bears this summer

A black bear rests in a mixed-age forest on June 30, 2018, in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Photo: William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images

The Utah Department of Wildlife Resources just released a guide on how to avoid black bears as they emerge from hibernation — and people head to the mountains for outdoor recreation.

What they're saying: “Even though they’re incredibly strong and surprisingly fast, black bears will typically do everything they can to avoid people,” DWR Game Mammals coordinator Darren DeBloois said in a statement.

Yes, but: "When a bear finds food, though, that all changes."

Here are a few tips to avoid the furry creatures:

🔒 Secure your food and supplies: Keep food and scented items, like toothpaste, in a locked trailer or trunk or bear-proof container.

🧽 Keep your campsite tidy: Pick up trash or food debris and wash utensils after cooking to prevent attracting bears to any scents.

  • Take trash bags home.

🏠 Bear-proof your home: If you live near the mountains or foothills, secure birdfeeders, fruit trees, beehives, pet bowls, grills and unsupervised pets on your property.

  • If you don't have a bear-proof garbage can, place bins in your garage.

🍩 Don't feed them: It may seem obvious, but it happens with shocking frequency.

👀 If you see a bear near the foothills: Report it to DWR if it's being aggressive or getting into trash cans.

🥊 If you encounter one: Remain calm and stand your ground.

  • Avoid playing dead or backing away.
  • Don't attempt to run or hide in a tree. Black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour, and their curved claws make them excellent climbers.
  • Prepare to fight back using your fists or anything you can reach like rocks, water bottles, backpacks or sticks.

ICYMI: Rattlesnake season is coming to Utah. Here's how to avoid those, too.

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