April 17, 2024

PHOENIX — With Arizona’s hottest months right around the corner, how black bears forage for typical food sources will become more challenging. As a result, the chances of them wandering into populated areas in search of an easier meal will be on the rise.    

While bears are typically shy and tend to avoid humans, their excellent sense of smell can be problematic for both the animals and humans. Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) officials advise those living or visiting bear country to avoid feeding wildlife and to not leave trash, food or other attractants accessible (such as pet food or bird seed). Unfortunately, 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 out human food sources,” said Larry Phoenix, AZGFD regional supervisor in Flagstaff. “At that point, the bear becomes a threat to public safety.”

Here are some tips to avoid attracting bears:

Keep them away from your home

When camping

When hiking

In case of a bear encounter

Bear sightings in areas where there is human activity should be reported to AZGFD’s dispatch center at 623-236-7201. For questions, or to obtain a brochure on living with bears, visit

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