May 21, 2024

PHOENIX — With a long holiday weekend right around the corner, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is reminding campers, hikers and other outdoor recreationists to be “bear aware.”

While bears are typically shy and tend to avoid humans, their excellent sense of smell can be problematic for both the animals and humans. AZGFD officials advise those living in or visiting bear country to secure all trash, food, and other attractants. 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 conflicts with bears:

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 radio room at 623-236-7201. For questions, or to obtain a brochure on living with bears, visit

Subscribe to our Newsletter