Staying safe from bears this fall

Posted at 6:47 PM, Sep 30, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-30 20:47:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Dry weather has forced bears closer to homes and campsites this year, and experts are advising residents on how to avoid a dangerous encounter.

“We’ve had such a dry season. There’s not a lot of food available to them, so they are out there looking for anything they can find food wise. And unfortunately a lot of that is around human development and campsites and that sort of thing,” said Stephanie Natt.

Experts say black bears rarely attack humans, but there are things you can do to stay safe while out in Utah’s backcountry:

  • Don’t hike or run alone on mountain trails.
  • Talk loudly, sing or wear bear bells to avoid the wildlife.
  • Keep kids and pets close.
  • Don’t leave food out.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • If you see a bear, talk in low tones, stay calm, don’t run and back away slowly.
  • Don’t crowd the bear.
  • If attacked, don’t play dead. Fight back.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

Bears should go into hibernation by December, but if it’s another dry winter, they could be out later than usual.