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DWR offers bear safety tips

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SALT LAKE CITY — As Utahns head outdoors this spring, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is offering tips on avoiding black bears.

According to Darren DeBloois, the division’s mammals coordinator, the key is to keep campsites clean and not leave food out in the open.

“Even though they’re incredibly strong and surprisingly fast,” DeBloois said, “like most wildlife, black bears will typically do everything they can to avoid people. When a bear finds food, though, that all changes. Once it finds food, a bear will often become aggressive toward anything it perceives as threatening the area where it found the food. That includes people.”

DeBloois suggests outdoor enthusiasts store food and scented items — such as deodorants and toothpaste — in an area where a bear can’t get to them. A locked trailer or a locked car trunk are good choices, he said in a statement.

He also advised keeping cooking grills clean and keeping the campsite free of food scraps and other trash.

He also said people should never feed a bear.

More tips on staying safe in bear country — including what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking — are available from Wild Aware Utah at wildawareutah.org/utah-wildlife-information/bears. The Division of Wildlife Resources also provides additional tips at wildlife.utah.gov/learn-more/bear-safety.html.

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