Sun, sweat and bears — a warning to Utah campers

Wildlife • Dry heat could lead to more close encounters.
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The dry year that's shaping up in the West could leave bears hungry and increase the chances of conflicts with campers, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources warns.

Hot, dry weather has taken a toll on mountain vegetation, reducing natural foods available to the state's black bears, DWR mammals coordinator John Shivik said Tuesday in a news release. It puts bears on the move.

"The wandering that they're doing," Shivik said, "increases the chance that a bear will come into your camp site or cabin area this summer."

Already this year, DWR biologists have trapped and moved a bear that was poking around a Summit County patio on Memorial Day.

Black bear attacks are rare but dangerous. In 2007, a black bear killed a boy who was camping with his family in American Fork Canyon.

DWR recommends keeping a clean camp to avoid attracting bears.

Campers should store food and scented items such as deodorant or toothpaste in inaccessible places such as trailers or car trunks. Grills and cooking pans and utensils should be cleaned and trash secured.

Leaving a camp clean also is important to the next campers' safety. —

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