Black bears are currently the only bear found in Utah. Black bears aren`t always black; their color can vary from white to black to every shade of brown.
Meat makes up less than 10 percent of a typical black bear`s diet, and much of that is scavenged carcasses and insects. The rest of its diet is typically nuts, berries, grasses and other plants. Black bears are Utah`s largest predators. Thousands of them live in our forests and mountains; often in the same places, we like to camp, hike and build our houses. This poses a safety concern for both humans and bears.
When in bear country, you should:
Maintain a bear-safe campsite
Store food, drinks, and scented items securely (in your vehicle, a bear-safe container or tree; never in your tent)
Dispose of trash in bear-proof dumpsters, if available
Wipe down picnic tables
Burn off stoves or grills
Pitch tents away from trails in the backcountry
Always sleep inside your tent
Never approach or feed a bear
Report bear sightings to your campground host
Take precautions while hiking
Stay alert at dawn and dusk, when bears are more active
Go with a group, if possible
Make noise as you travel through dense cover
Stay away from animal carcasses
Store food, trash, and scented items (such as sunscreen) in airtight plastic bags
Keep kids in the center of the group
Bears search for food wherever they can.
Protect Your Property
If a bear enters your yard, give it an obvious escape route; do not corner it. Black bears can quickly inflict thousands of dollars in property damage. You can reduce or eliminate visits from bears if you:
Dispose of trash carefully
Store trash in a secure location or bear-safe container
Put your trash out for pick-up in the morning, not the previous night
Clean your trash container regularly
Put up electric fencing
Place bear unwelcome mats (wood planks with nails or screws protruding) in front of doors or windows
Install motion-activated lights or noisemakers
Get one or more dogs
Turn on garden hoses or sprinklers
Spray the bear with bear spray
Black bears usually avoid contact with people, but encounters in Utah`s woods and mountains are not uncommon.
If You Encounter A Bear
Stand your ground. Never back up, lie down or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent.
Don`t run away or climb a tree. Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 miles per hour; you cannot outclimb or outrun them.
Know bear behavior. If a bear stands up, grunts, woofs, moans or makes other sounds, it`s not being aggressive. These are ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest.
If A Bear Attacks
Use bear spray. Then leave the area. Studies have shown bear spray to be 92 percent successful in deterring bear attacks.
Shoot to kill. If you use a firearm, never fire a warning shot, aim for the center of the bear and keep firing until it is dead. Notify the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources immediately.
Always fight back. And never give up! People have successfully defended themselves with almost anything: rocks, sticks, backpacks, water bottles and even their hands and feet.
Go to wildawareutah.org for more information