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Hot, dry weather could increase chances of bear encounters

Arizona Game and Fish Department
A black bear eats out of a bird feeder on a porch.

Arizona wildlife officials say the state’s hot and dry conditions have raised the chances of bears wandering into areas where they’re typically not seen in search of food.

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the animal’s natural vegetation may be reduced in some areas.

The agency is urging those living in or visiting bear country not to feed wildlife or leave out trash, pet food, bird seed and other things that could attract bears.

Officials say if a bear becomes habituated to getting food from human sources it could eventually become a threat to public safety.

Game and Fish says campers shouldn’t keep food in tents and set up campsites away from creeks and rivers where bears might forage for food, and that hikers should avoid scented lotions and perfumes and keep their pets on leashes.

If someone encounters a bear, they shouldn’t run but back away slowly keeping their eyes on the animal while looking bigger than they are.