May 11, 2023

Safety tips to prevent attracting bears and what to do in case of an encounter

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) has started to receive its first confirmed reports of the year of bear sightings in Arizona. As temperatures rise, bears will come out of their dens searching for food.

Black bears are typically shy and avoid humans; however, they have an excellent sense of smell, which can be problematic for the bears themselves and people.

AZGFD officials advise those living in or visiting bear country not to feed wildlife or leave trash or other attractants, such as pet food or bird seed, accessible because it could lead to a situation where “a fed bear is a dead bear.”

“If a bear becomes habituated to getting food from trash cans and other human sources, it’s only a matter of time before it loses its fear of humans and begins to actively search other human food sources,” says Lt. Shawn Wagner, AZGFD law enforcement program manager. “At that point, the bear becomes a threat to public safety.”

Safety tips to avoid attracting bears:

Keep them away from your home.



In case of a bear encounter

Bear sightings in areas with human activity should be reported to AZGFD’s 24/7 dispatch center at 623-236-7201. In an emergency, call 911. For additional information, click here or visit the Living with Wildlife page at

Subscribe to our Newsletter