Mar 15, 2013 9:00 PM by John Patrick
AZ Game and Fish preparing for active bear season
SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. - With spring right around the corner hungry black bears are coming out of semi-hibernation. Last summer the Arizona Game and Fish Department took over one hundred bear related calls, nearly one every single day. Dennis Lewis spends his winters in southern Arizona and had to make one of those calls when a hungry black bear came wandering through his yard. This particular black bear was docile; however, it could have been a dangerous situation. Lewis says, "If he wasn't tired and full and somebody walked up to him or tried to pet him he would've attacked." After the Monument Fire charred over 30,000 acres in 2011 the bears were left with little to maintain a healthy diet. With the lack of a normal food source Mark Hart with the Arizona Game and Fish Department is warning that it could be another active year. "Our concern is upon emerging from their dens and not finding any natural food they will head into the neighborhoods and we will once again be dealing with a high number of calls," explains Hart. Game and Fish is teaming up with a group of local Boy Scouts to get the word out about the bear problem. The group will set up "Bear Country" signs and distribute "Living with Black Bears" pamphlets to the Ramsey, Carr and Miller canyon areas where nuisance bears have been known to frequent. Arizona Game and Fish wants to remind residents to keep their trash cans locked up until the day of pick up, keep all pet food indoors and store all other food items properly. If you are warned about attracting bears to your property you could receive a citation.