Bear Encounters In Utah On the Rise, UDWR Says

Jul 17, 2019, 4:01 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – This may be the summer to pick up bear spray. Bear encounters in Utah are on the rise this summer, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources urges all of us to take precautions while camping, on the trail and at home.  Hikers recently spotted a mother bear acting aggressively on a trail at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

“We’re seeing more bear activity this year. We are kind of surprised by it actually,” said Scott Root, Community Outreach Manager for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

So far this month,  DWR employees have responded to 26 bear encounters this month.. a year ago, only 11.

“By far, most of those encounters have taken place in residential areas, in the foothills,” said Root.

A couple of weeks ago, wildlife officers had to tranquilize a bear in Mapleton that had wandered into a neighborhood.  It was safely relocated.

“We do have a good bear population,” said Root. “They are using the same areas that we’re using when we’re hiking, or sometimes just living.”

In Big Cottonwood Canyon, the DWR set a live trap for a bear that acted aggressively towards hikers last Friday, and again Sunday.

The DWR believes it was a sow looking after one of her cubs.

“She followed the hikers, and she would growl at the hikers. Sometimes they’ll chomp at their jaw a little bit, and even one group reported it bluff charged them a little bit,” said Root.

A wireless, motion- sensor camera will let them know when the bear enters the trap.

“It will send a photograph immediately to us,” said Root. “That way we can respond very quickly if the bear is in the trap, it doesn’t have to be in a bear trap on a hot day.”

Out on the trail, many hikers are considering bear safety for the first time.

“I’ve hiked with my parents, I’ve hiked alone, I’ve hiked with friends, I’ve camped up here many times in my life, and never seen a bear,” said Adam Harmon, a lifelong Utah hiker.  “I think I’m more concerned about a wildcat, or a moose than I am about bear.”

But, he said, it might be time to be more cautious on the trail.

“You don’t want to get between a mother and her cub,” he said. “But, maybe I’ll go to REI and pick up bear spray and start to carry that with me.”

In addition, the number of bears getting into garbage at homes in the foothills this month has doubled from last July. If you are camping or live in any canyons or foothills, the DWR says you must “bear-proof” your food and garbage.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The large herd of about 60 elk near the mouth of Parley's Canyon on Thursday. (Utah Department of W...
Michael Houck

DWR officials warn of migrating elk entering Salt Lake City

A migrating herd of approximately 60 elk is causing problems for residents and drivers near the mouth of Parley's Canyon.
17 hours ago
Former longtime Murray Mayor Dan Snarr is photographed on Dec. 13, 2013. Snarr, 73, was charged Thu...
Pat Reavy

Former Murray mayor accused of spitting in driver’s face in road rage case

The former longtime mayor of Murray has been charged with spitting in the face of another driver during a road rage incident.
17 hours ago
Handcuffs in a jail cell FILE PHOTO (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Sandy man threatened to kill parents after shooting TVs, police say

A Sandy man was charged Friday with shooting two televisions and threatening to kill his parents and go on a killing spree.
17 hours ago

West Jordan man arrested in child porn, voyeurism investigation

A man who described himself to police as being highly skilled with computers has been arrested for allegedly possessing child porn and placing hidden cameras in his home.
17 hours ago
A former administrator of a popular Facebook group used for inviting singles to parties was ordered...

West Jordan man ordered to stand trial in sexual assaults at party for singles

A former administrator of a popular Facebook group used for inviting singles to parties and other events was ordered Friday to stand trial on multiple charges of rape and sexual abuse.
17 hours ago
Salt Lake County Jail (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)...
Pat Reavy

Agents report finding child porn, bag of children’s underwear in Utah man’s home

A man was arrested Thursday after agents reported finding hundreds of videos of child pornography in his home and a bag of children's underwear.
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Bear Encounters In Utah On the Rise, UDWR Says