Black bears sighted in Arizona Strip; what to do

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — Mojave County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning Wednesday, stating that black bears have been sighted on two separate occasions wandering around the town of Desert Springs in the Arizona Strip.

Arizona Game and Fish officials are aware of the sightings, and are attempting to locate the bears, according to a press statement. The Mojave County Sheriff’s Office is also checking the area.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends the following tips:

  • Never feed or approach a bear.
  • Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
  • Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands or making other noises.
  • Make sure the bear has an escape route.
  • If a bear enters your home, provide it with an escape route by propping all doors open.
  • Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived as a challenge. Never run from a bear, instead, slowly back away.
  • To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an airhorn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
  • The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
  • If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not threatening behavior.
  • Black bears will sometimes “bluff charge” when cornered, threatened or while attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then back away.
  • If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.

See more tips on safety with bear encounters here:  Prevent unwanted black bear encounters, tips to stay safe


  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources tips on how to stay safe if you encounter a bear while hiking
  • Wild Aware Utah also provides bear safety information, which you can find here

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  • SteveSGU May 23, 2015 at 12:07 am

    What’s the explanation about where these bears could have come from? As far as I know, there are no bears on the mountains of Southern Utah or the Arizona Strip.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic May 23, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Well Steve, Arizona officials are alerting the public that people have reported sighting black bears in the Arizona Strip and they are attempting to locate them, as described in this report. Perhaps the eyewitnesses saw something else, that remains to be seen.
      My experience is that nature, the world and people are full of surprises.
      When we presume to be concrete, the ground may shift beneath our feet. Shall we dance? 🙂
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

    • RealMcCoy May 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      They said the same thing about Wolves this far south. My wife and I saw a wolf on the Kaibab about 5 years ago. Rangers scoffed and said “there ain’t no wolves down here. never was, never gonna be”.
      A few years later, they ‘discover’ that animals can migrate and roam, and -BAM- now they report that wolves are on the Kaibab.
      It just goes to show that the wildlife has roamed these parts long before the area was settled, and will continue to roam despite our intervention.
      This bear is probably looking for greener pastures, better food sources, or just on a walkabout.
      Let’s hope we get to see it in the wild!

  • SteveSGU May 23, 2015 at 9:48 am

    I think we would get a better answer if you would ask an expert and report back.

  • fun bag May 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    ok to pet bear?

  • beentheredonethat May 23, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I’d bet if they looked around a bit more, they’d find a couple of unicycles hidden in the bushes!!!!!!!!

  • ladybugavenger May 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Black bear diner

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