Bold Black Bears Causing Trouble in Juneau

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Abby Lowell

It’s shaping up to be an extremely busy bear year in Juneau.

Locals have shared stories of bold black bear cubs entering downtown homes and the calls stemming from these sightings have kept officials like Ryan Scott, area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, busier than normal.

“I can’t exactly say why,” he said, “but we seem to have a bumper crop of young bears this year.”

He said the organization’s call log has already surpassed last year’s total tally by a long shot.

Scott said Fish and Game employees are systematically working through bear issues and taking steps to prevent unwanted encounters.

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Grizzly Sows Swap Cub in Grand Teton National Park

courtesy of the National Parks Traveler
by Kurt Repanshek

In an unusual, but apparently not unprecedented, move in wildlife behavior, two grizzly sows in Grand Teton National Park have swapped a cub. Making the swap even more curious is that the sows involved are themselves mother and daughter.

The cub swapping was detected last week when those monitoring the park’s grizzlies compared notes. According to park officials, the swapping was between 15-year-old grizzly No. 399, a prodigous sow when it comes to bearing triplets, and one of her daughters, 5-year No. 610.

No. 399 had given birth to three cubs this past winter. During the spring and into the summer she traveled with her young trio through much the same home range that she has maintained in recent years.

No. 610, who has a home range that overlaps with No. 399, meanwhile, had twins during the winter.

“The apparent adoption of a single cub occurred on or about July 21; the noteworthy event was confirmed by observations of No. 610 traveling with three cubs in the Willow Flats area of Grand Teton National Park, and later observations of No. 399 with just two cubs in an area further north of Willow Flats,” a park release said. “Biologists are not sure what caused the exchange of offspring, or whether this will be a temporary or permanent situation. However, these observations offer a fascinating glimpse into bear behavior.

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Bear Attacks 7 Teens in Talkeetna Mountains

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Casey Grove

A grizzly bear sow with a cub attacked a group of teenagers on a month-long survival-skills course Saturday night in the Talkeetna Mountains, causing severe injuries to two of the hikers, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The bear pounced as the seven hikers were crossing a creek about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Two of the teenagers suffered life-threatening injuries, and the other five were also injured, Peters said.

Troopers and Alaska Air National Guard rescuers eventually evacuated the group, Peters said.

The hikers were all between 16 and 18 years old, and were participating in a National Outdoor Leadership School course, Peters said.

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Bears Trapped in Downtown Juneau

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News

State biologists have trapped a black bear in downtown Juneau, but they say it’s not the nuisance bear they were looking for.

Fish and Game biologist Ryan Scott says the agency received reports of a mother and cub causing disturbances in the area. He says the wrong female bear was caught Wednesday.

Scott says that bear will be relocated out of town and that the agency will continue looking for the mother bear.

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5 Bad-News Grizzly Bears Plague the Town of Salcha

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Mary Pemberton

A potentially dangerous situation is brewing in the community of Salcha, where two mother grizzly bears are roaming the community, looking for food and getting into trouble.

What bear wouldn’t tear into a car for the groceries inside? Or pass up a freezer on a deck filled with goodies?

Art Thompson Jr., owner of the Salchaket Roadhouse, said Friday that the bears have been around for about a month looking for food in the community about 30 miles southeast of Fairbanks. He’s been taking garbage to the dump every day to keep the back of the roadhouse clean and bear-free.

The bears are pretty much going house to house in the community of about 1,000 people where Fairbanks-area residents have weekend homes, he said.

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Biologist Shoots Motherless Bear Cubs; Neighbors Upset

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Casey Grove

A state wildlife biologist shot and killed two orphaned black bear cubs Wednesday on the Anchorage Hillside, upsetting some residents of the neighborhood.

The cubs’ mother was killed about three weeks ago when a resident shot the animal to protect his property, said Jessy Coltrane, Anchorage area biologist with the Department of Fish and Game. Without their mother, the cubs would have eventually been killed by another bear or died of starvation, Coltrane said.

“The most humane thing is to put them down,” she said. “It is hands-down the least favorite part of my job.”

Coltrane received numerous phone calls about the cubs in the weeks after the sow’s death, she said. But the calls always came in too late to provide accurate information on the cubs’ whereabouts. Then, Wednesday morning, Coltrane said, a caller reported the cubs were in a tree near his house in a subdivision south of Rabbit Creek Road and above Golden View Drive.

“Unfortunately, because black bears are very common in the Lower 48 and up here, there’s not a lot of facilities that want them,” Coltrane said. Any facilities that might have taken the cubs were already full, she said.

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Kenai River Fishermen Ordered Out of Woods

courtesy of Anchorage Daily News
by Casey Grove

A brown bear sow with two cubs hanging around the confluence of the Kenai and Russian rivers has caused federal wildlife officials to close a nearby wooded area to foot traffic until further notice.

There are no added restrictions for anglers, who, on busy days, flock to the area by the hundreds, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The closure affects 29 acres of woods on the north side of the Kenai River near the Russian River ferry and parking areas. Both riverbanks are still open up to 25 feet from the river’s edge, and the ferry and parking area are operating as usual.

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Be Bear Aware When Camping

courtesy of the Colorado Division of Wildlife

Memorial Day Weekend marks the traditional start to the camping season, and the Colorado Division of Wildlife reminds campers to be “bear aware” when enjoying the outdoors.

The most important tip for all campers is to keep a clean campsite to avoid attracting bears or other wildlife.

Bears go into campgrounds because food is often available around tents, camp trailers and dumpsters. The potential for conflicts increases when food brings bears and humans into close contact.

“Bears are built to eat and their sense of smell is incredible,” explained Ron Dobson, a district wildlife manager in the Salida area. “They can smell food from miles away, they’ll travel to find it and that’s when they get into trouble.”

In a natural setting, bears would just as soon avoid people, but bears that learn to associate humans with food begin to lose their natural fear of people. “Food conditioned” bears can become aggressive and often end up being euthanized.

Dobson says black bears are not naturally aggressive toward humans, but are actually very shy creatures.

“However, bears are on a mission to find food,” he explained. “Campers need to take precautions to avoid problems for themselves, for nearby campers and the next people who use the same camp site.”

He suggests campers never leave food or garbage behind and always pack out their trash.

Here are a few other tips for campers in bear country:
* Keep a clean site and clean up thoroughly after every meal;
* After grilling, allow the fire to completely burn food scraps and grease off the grill.
* Do not eat in your tent or keep food or items that smell of food in your tent;
* Store unused food and garbage in secure containers out of the reach of bears and away from your sleeping area;
* Secure pet food as you would human food.
* Don’t leave food that would attract birds or any wildlife in campgrounds. If you see others in the campground feeding wildlife, contact the campground host.
* If you see a bear in a campground, report it to the local DOW office as soon as possible.
* If you come in close contact with a bear, talk to it firmly and make yourself look as large as possible. Back away slowly, but do not run.
* Teach children and others who might be unfamiliar with bears about bear safety.

For more information about camping in bear country, go to:
Additional information about coexisting with bears can be found at

Despite Snow, Bears Waking up, Looking for Food

courtesy of
by Jeffrey Wolf and Matt Renoux

With the mountains getting hit with another April snow storm this weekend, Colorado Division of Wildlife officers like Shannon Schwab say they are seeing bears become more active.

That is because the natural food bears eat is now covered under several feet of snow at a time when that snow should be melting.

“We are seeing what looks like and feels like winter still, but wildlife is waking up and having babies and they are ready to begin their spring functions,” Schwab said.

With natural food covered, bears are looking to easier items like trash, grills, or bird feeders. Recently, DOW officers were called to a home in Breckenridge for a bear that got stuck in a garage looking for food.

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Lawmakers Consider Flexible Colorado Bear Hunt

courtesy of
by Blair Shiff

Bears beware – Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals’ growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted.

A proposal set for its first hearing Monday would repeal a 1992 voter-approved initiative that prohibits hunting bears from March 1 to Sept. 1 and give the state Division of Wildlife authority to expand hunting dates.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative amid concern that female bears were being hunted in the spring, when they are taking care of their cubs. The initiative also banned hunting bears with dogs and baiting bears with food to kill them. The bill sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown would not eliminate those provisions.

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Legislators: Scared of Bears

courtesy of The Huffington Post
by Wendy Keefover-Ring

In 1992, 70% of Colorado voters passed Proposition 10, the citizen-led initiative that banned bear hunting in springtime. It also banned the use of dog packs that some used to chase down bears — so they could be cornered and shot at a convenient distance.

Hunting mother bears in springtime orphans their cubs. Bear cubs depend on their mothers for about 17 months. In other words, if one shoots the mom, the shooter will also indirectly kill the babes — likely all three of them.

Colorado legislators have signaled they’d like a bear slaughter. House Bill 11-1294 puts a bull’s eye on female bears and their cubs, and crushes the will of 70% of Coloradoan voters. Simply put: this bill is bad for bears and voters.

Who would allow some hunters to hunt nursing mother bears and leave their cubs orphaned and starving?

Twenty Republicans — led by J. Paul Brown — and lone Democrat Wes “Cowboy” McKinley.

Seventy percent of Coloradans voted to protect mother bears and their cubs. Their voices will be relegated to the past if this bill passes.

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