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City urges caution after bear sighted in City Creek Canyon

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Oct 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-27 00:57:18-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A deer hunter spotted a bear in City Creek Canyon this week and now the city is warning hikers and hunters to keep an eye out.

Experts said the drought has forced bears to forage lower this year, and as a result there have been numerous sightings close to Salt Lake City.

Earlier this week, a hunter startled a black bear walking down an embankment toward the river across from a campground in City Creek Canyon.

In July, surveillance video caught a bear at the trailhead looking for food in garbage cans.

The city posted warning signs, which urge bikers, hikers and hunters to be cautious as they head-out into the back country.

Bear encounters occur more in the spring and fall, as the animals come out of hibernation and prepare to go back into their dens to rest for the winter.

“The bears are going to be looking for food, food, food in any kind of source right now,” said Stephanie Natt of Wild Aware Utah. “So fall is a key point when they are out in droves trying to get the last bit they can get before the winter comes.”

If you encounter a bear the experts suggest you:

  • Talk in low tones and back away slowly
  • Don't run away from the bear or run toward it
  • Keep kids and dogs close by
  • Go in groups

Bear attacks are rare, if that happens: Fight back, and don't play dead.

“Bears are generally more scared of us then we are of them,” said Mountain Biker Casey Welch.

The city said it's not trying to capture the bear, because it doesn't appear to be habituated to humans.