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Be Bear Aware

Protect Yourself, Protect A Bear



AZGFD offers essential tips for avoiding conflicts.

With Arizona's hottest months right around the corner, how black bears forage for typical food sources will become more challenging. As a result, the chances of them wandering into populated areas in search of an easier meal will be on the rise.

While bears are typically shy and tend to avoid humans, their excellent sense of smell can be problematic for both the animals and humans. Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials advise those living or visiting bear country to avoid feeding wildlife and to not leave trash, food or other attractants accessible (such as pet food or bird seed). Unfortunately, a fed bear is a dead bear.

"If a bear becomes habituated to getting food from trash cans and other human sources, it's only a matter of time before it loses its fear of humans and begins to actively search out human food sources," said Larry Phoenix, AZGFD regional supervisor in Flagstaff. "At that point, the bear becomes a threat to public safety."

Here Are Some Tips To Avoid Attracting Bears

Keep them away from your home -

Keep all trash inside a secured area until collection day. If that's not possible, keep food waste in a bag in the freezer and place those in the trash as close to collection time as possible.

Take bird feeders down at night.

Keep pet and livestock food inside or remove all uneaten food.

When camping -

Keep your food and attractants secured and inaccessible to bears. Do not keep food in your tent.

Don't burn left-over food or trash on the grill.

Set up your campsite away from places where bears might forage for food, such as creeks, rivers and other bodies of water.

When hiking -

Don't wear scented lotions, deodorant or perfumes.

Make noise or hike in groups.

Hiking with a pet? Keep it on a leash at all times.

In case of a bear encounter -

Do NOT run.

Back away slowly while keeping your eyes on the bear.

Make yourself look bigger than you are by flaunting your arms or pulling your shirt/jacket up higher than your head.

Throw items and yell at the bear.

If attacked, fight back.

Bear sightings in areas where there is human activity should be reported to AZGFD's dispatch center at 623-236-7201. For questions, or to obtain a brochure on living with bears, visit


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