First bear sighting near Fort Huachuca

First bear sighting near Fort Huachuca

CREATED Mar 19, 2012

Web Producer: Rikki Mitchell

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Black bears have left their winter dens, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department wants the public to be on alert.

The department tells KGUN9 that the first sighting of a black bear happened Friday near Fort Huachuca.

There may be more cases of bear sightings in residential areas this year because of two consecutive dry winters and intermittent seasonal rains.

Officials say bears are attracted to homes when they are in search of food and most conflicts arise when people unintentionally feed the bears by allowing them access to garages, bird feeders and garden areas.

Garbage stored outside attracts the bears, and the department says storing garbage inside a secure garage or shed will virtually eliminate the chances of a bear visit.

Officials also say that bears are good climbers, so fences should be at least six feet tall and constructed of non-climbable material.

If you see a bear, the Game and Fish Department recommends the following actions:

  • Making yourself as large and imposing as possible.
  • Stand upright and wave your arms, jacket or other items and make loud noises.
  • Do not run and never play dead.
  • Give the bear a chance to leave the area.
  • If the bear does not leave, stay calm, continue facing it and slowly back away.

If you come across a bear in your yard or neighborhood and it refuses to leave, contact the Game and Fish office at 520-628-5376 or 1-800-352-0700.