Be "Bear Aware" : Military police haze 150-pound bear

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - [if gte mso 9]>

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The Arizona Game and Fish Department is reminding Sierra Vista residents to be "Bear Aware" this summer.

Military police hazed a 150-pound bear out of the Ft. Huachuca area after an overnight sighting.

"Food and food odors attract bears, which can be dangerous," said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson. "So never approach or feed bears. Secure all food and garbage."

Vega stated that after the first warning, if garbage or food at the residence is attracting bears, will result in a citation under a Cochise County ordinance.

Penalties for the first class misdemeanor can include a fine up to $2,500, six months in jail and three months probation.

Trash cans should be secured in a garage or another fully-enclosed structure until the day of pickup. In addition, fruit fallen from trees, and even bird seed on the ground and nectar from hummingbird feeders, can attract hungry bears.

Game and Fish fielded 100 nuisance bear calls between July and Oct. 2012 because habitat impacts caused by the Monument Fire in 2011 in the Huachuca Mountains. The fire has left bears little to eat causing them to find food in residential areas.

There is a zero-tolerance policy for adult male bears that become a nuisance because of their relative aggressiveness, according to Game and Fish. Nuisance females, yearlings and cubs are usually relocated.

Of the four bears relocated from the Sierra Vista area are in 2011, two returned there.

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