NEWS

Wyoming bears are awake and active

Stay safe and bear aware

5/2/2022 8:48:27 PM

Cheyenne - Wyoming’s bears are waking from hibernation throughout the state. The bears’ spring emergence serves as a reminder for outdoor recreationalists and rural homeowners in bear-inhabited areas of Wyoming to brush up on bear safety.

“Even the most experienced recreationalist or rural homeowner who has lived in bear country for years can wind up in a close encounter or conflict situation with a bear,” Bear Wise Coordinator Kyle Garrett said. “We want people to stay diligent to avoid any potential bear conflicts.”

Bear Wise Wyoming is a resource for recreationists, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who lives in bear country. Garrett said everyone has a role in putting bear safety-practices in place this spring.

For people who live in bear country — black or grizzly — keep garbage, livestock or pet feed and birdseed properly stored and unavailable to bears. Barbeque grills should be kept clean and stored in a garage or shed when possible. This limits attractants that can draw them to areas where people live or camp. 

“The majority of the people in rural areas of Wyoming where bears roam do an excellent job of securing attractants away from bears but it’s important to remain vigilant and remember to secure attractants to minimize the potential for conflict,” Garrett  said.

Those who recreate in bear country also need to be aware of the potential for encounters with bears. When recreating in bear habitat, be prepared and alert. Hike in a group and make noise as you travel so bears can hear you. Learn to recognize areas of heavy bear use by knowing how to identify tracks, scats and diggings, and if you smell a carcass, avoid it. Congregating magpies or ravens often indicate a nearby potential food source for bears. Remember, when bears scavenge large animals they often cover what they can’t eat with brush or dirt and may stay nearby for several days to defend it from other large carnivores.

Commercially available bear spray is an effective deterrent if confronted by a bear. Carry bear spray in a readily accessible manner and make sure the spray is EPA approved.  Use bear spray only as a deterrent and as a last resort to avoid a physical encounter. 

Game and Fish strives to manage conflict resolution between people and large carnivores, as well as quantifying and evaluating how situations occur. It is critical the public notifies Game and Fish if a conflict arises as soon as possible.  

“In most conflict situations, bears do not interact with people, rather they obtain unsecured human foods, livestock or pet foods, garbage or birdseed,” Garrett said.

Many times, Game and Fish can take action to effectively deter ongoing conflicts, which is good for people and bears.  

To learn more, visit the Bear Wise Wyoming website.

(Sara DiRienzo, Public Information Officer - (sara.dirienzo@wyo.gov))

- WGFD -

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