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Campers told to take precautions after several black bears spotted in Payson

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Game and Fish officials are warning campers to take precautions after several black bears have been seen roaming through Payson.

While the bears are typically afraid of humans, Game and Fish spokesman Joe Sayer said campers should keep them in mind.

“To minimize the occurrence of running into bears — the Payson area, the (Mogollon) Rim area is frequented by a lot of campers — just take precautionary steps,” he said.

The best step campers can take is to remove the biggest bear attractant at a campsite — food.

“Keeping food out of the tent, away from the tent — strung up between trees or in locked containers — that’s very good advice,” he said.

Sayer said the animals have not been acting aggressive and have typically been spotted at night, when human activity quiets down.

Black bears are the only bear species in Arizona. They can weigh between 125 and 400 pounds and are about six feet tall when standing on their hind legs.

In 2012, several people near Payson were attacked by bears in a one-month span. Though attacks are rare in Arizona, officials still took steps to make campgrounds in the area safer.

KTAR’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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