Game and Fish considers new bear-containment steps

Sep 20, 2012, 6:36 AM | Updated: 6:36 am

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Game and Fish is considering new methods to deal with bears in the state.

There has been a rash of bear sightings in the Sierra Vista area, including one bear that walked up to a group of soldiers at Fort Huachuca.

Mark Hart with Arizona Game and Fish said the 2011 Monument and Horseshoe II wildfires coupled with two dry winters have the bears on the move looking for food. The department is considering using rubber buckshot and paint ball guns to sting the bears but not hurt them.

“We want the bears to not find contact with people comfortable,” he said. “The intent is to drive the bear off, not create injury and these tools would be used on a limited basis.

“Once a bear has become habituated to human food or garbage, the bear will continue to pursue it,
no matter where you put the bear. Relocating the bear isn’t always the best solution. Bears will travel great distances to their home range.”

Hart said the organization expects to be dealing with bears until they go into semi-hibernation in December.

“They will wake up hungry and we may right back here dealing with this in the spring,” he said.

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Game and Fish considers new bear-containment steps