Bear sightings prompt warning, tips - Tucson News Now

Bear sightings prompt warning, tips

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A young bear in Hereford in 2012. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department) A young bear in Hereford in 2012. (Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Arizona Game and Fish Department said people need to be aware that bears may already be emerging from hibernation after two recent sightings were reported.

According to a news release, the first sightings of the season happened near the Peppersauce Campground and on Ft. Huachuca.

Campers reported seeing a black bear on Feb. 16 near the Peppersauce Campground.

In January, a hunter reported seeing a female bear and cub on Ft. Huachuca.

The Game and Fish department says warmer weather may have shortened the annual hibernation, which normally ends in March.

Also, bears may be visiting residential areas more frequently because of consecutive dry winters and lingering effects of the Monument and Horseshoe Two fires.

People are advised to keep their garbage in a secure garage or shed until the morning of collection.

Campers are warned to never take food into a tent and use deodorizing spray if storing food in cars if a bear-proof box is not available. Clean yourself thoroughly and change out of clothes that may have lingering odors after cooking.

To report a bear that will not leave your yard, neighborhood or campground, call the Game and Fish office at 520-628-5376 or at 1-800-352-0700 evenings, weekend and holidays.

If you see a bear in the distance, alter your route to avoid it.

It is rare for bears to approach humans, but if you are approached, here are some tips to discourage it:

     • Make yourself as large and imposing as possible. Stand upright and wave your arms, jacket or other items, and make loud noises.

     • Do not run and never play dead.

     • Give the bear a chance to leave the area.

     • If the bear does not leave, stay calm, continue facing it, and slowly back away.

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