The Truth About Bears In Utah

Mar 14, 2019

Posted In: Local Attractions | News

The Truth About Bears In Utah

Yes, there are bears in Utah, including Southern Utah.  And 99% of the time, they are the good-news bears because of their contribution to the food cycle and ecosystems; however, as with any wild animal, there is the occasional nuisance or danger to deal with.  This article answers the (FAQs) frequently asked questions about bears in Southern Utah.

What Kind Of Bears Live In Utah?

The American Black Bear (Ursus Americanus) is Utah’s bear.  Any other types are either in a zoo or brought to Utah illegally.  They live in forested regions throughout the State. Some are black, and many are brown or beige in color.

What Is The Population of Bears In Utah?

There are roughly 4,000 black bears in Utah, and the Division of Wildlife Resources monitors size of population by attaching electronics to a collar, which is placed around the neck of the sows (female adult bears).  By easily locating the sows, rangers can see how many new bear cubs are born and survive each year. The cubs are born in late winter.

Are Black Bears Dangerous?

If snowfall has been plentiful, food sources are better for survival and for keeping the bears in the woods and out of our neighborhoods, campgrounds, and farms to forage for food.  When bears in Utah must wander near people to find food, they can be nuisances and threats to life and property.  Black Bears are normally not aggressive, and the rare attacks on humans are motivated by hunger.  Mother Black Bears have not shown the same aggressiveness when humans are near their cubs as brown bears have demonstrated.  The personality of black bears in Utah is more to either run away or mock aggression than to actually carry it out.  Occasionally, a Black Bear will attack and kill humans, but only when it perceives the humans as threats to its food sources.  The threatening incidents between Black Bears and humans have happened in national parks and in camping areas where tourists are.  In areas where the bears have become accustomed to getting food from people and their cars (like in Yellowstone National Park) the bears sometimes become angry if enough food is not offered, thus raising the potential for attacks.

What Do Black Bears Eat?

More herbivorous than carnivorous, Black Bears in Utah eat mostly vegetation, grasses, fruits, leaves, and nuts.  They also eat insects like bees and larvae of yellow jackets.  They will break into a tree to get honey, too, just like Winnie.  Black Bears will catch fish, especially at night when their dark fur is not easily spotted by the fish.  Occasionally, a Black Bear will pounce on a newborn fawn deer or elk calf for its supply of animal protein.

May I Hunt A Black Bear?

Yes.  Many states issue hunting permits for Black Bear.  The meat is reportedly similar to pork and tastier than grizzly meat or even elk, in the opinion of some.  Summer hunting is best because the bears are out looking for food and not hibernating.

Do Black Bears Hibernate?

Yes.  They hibernate for 3 to 8 months, depending on the region, climate, and food sources.  In general, a bear will look for or make a place to hibernate from late fall to early spring.  They like to dig their own holes under rocks or trees, and sometimes they will use an existing cave.  In hibernation, their heart rates will drop from 50 beats per minute to less than 10, thereby using just enough energy to stay alive.  Their fat is the fuel source during hibernation, and metabolism is slow. Light sleepers, black bears sometimes wake up to eat or drink during the winters.

What Should I Do If I Come Across A Black Bear?

Stand your ground and stay calm.  Do not lie down. Give the bear a chance to walk away.  Smoothly prepare to use your bear deterrent spray. Do not run or climb a tree.  A bear is not being aggressive by grunting or standing up; it is just checking you out.  If the bear attacks you, spray it in the head. It’s over 90% successful in warding off bear assaults.  If you have a firearm, shoot to kill, not to warn. Fight back. Many people have won this fight.

The Truth About Bears In Utah

Article By: Clear Content Marketing


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