Friday, October 26, 2012

Southeast Alaskans Be Aware of Possible Encounters with Bears

Southeast Alaskans need to use extra caution when recreating outdoors during fall. The combination of bears preparing to den and their normal food sources naturally decreasing has led to a greater likelihood of encounters between bears and humans. Rarely are these encounters aggressive, but the Tongass National Forest and Alaska Department of Fish and Game still urge hunters and other outdoor recreationists to use common sense and be "Bear Aware.”

“Southeast Alaska is home to some of the highest densities of black and brown bears in the world. They are an important part of the identity of Southeast Alaska and they play an important role in our ecosystem, culture and economies, ” said Brian Logan, wildlife program leader for the Tongass National Forest. “It is important that we maintain our awareness of bears and behave accordingly.”

When outdoors, always be aware of your surroundings and keep pets under control. Avoid attracting bears by storing food in bear resistant containers or out of reach of bears. Be observant of bear sign on the trail or near campsites. Remember to make plenty of noise on the trail, especially on blind curves, in dense vegetation or areas with limited vision, and in areas bears frequent, such as salmon streams and tide flats. Always be alert for sudden encounters, and be prepared to react in a safe and prudent manner.

Hunters should avoid hunting alone and handle game appropriately by following these important guidelines:
  •  When calling deer, remain watchful in all directions to avoid being surprised by bears that may be sneaking in to investigate.
  • Separate the carcass from entrails.
  • Remove the carcass from the area as soon as possible.
  • Never leave entrails within one mile of a trail, campsite, picnic area or parking lot. 
  • Keep carcasses unavailable to bears by hanging them
    • at least 10 to 15 feet from the ground;
    • four feet out from the supporting structure; and
    • 100 yards from any recreation site, especially sleeping areas.
  • Hang the carcass where you can see it from a distance, so you can observe it as you return.
  • Do not sleep in the same clothes that you handled game or cooked in.
  • Keep sleeping bags, tents and sleeping areas free of food and beverage odors.
For more information on bear safety, please contact your local U.S. Forest Service or Alaska Department of Fish & Game office or visit:

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