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Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages safety if you see a bear

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 20, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Arthur Sanchez has had a passion for the outdoors for years. While he enjoys hunting, he primarily likes to watch animals from a distance with his binoculars.

He also hunts bears and saw about 30 last year and about five so far this year.

“When you’re in the woods, you just never know what you’re going to encounter or when you’re going to encounter a bear,” he said.

He’s been hunting bears in Arizona for about 6 years and uses his instagram account arizona_bears to teach hunters about the outdoors and about bears.

“Don’t completely let your guard down because you never know where there’s going to be a bear,” Sanchez said.

People did see a bear or bears on three occasions in the past week in the lower Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita mountains. Most recently a bear was spotted there on Saturday.

Mark Hart, the public information officer for the Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson, said the bear appears to be a young bear or bears and perhaps doesn’t have an established territory yet.

As for what kind of bear it is, he said it was a black bear with a blonde coat.

He said this is the time of the year when they usually see wildlife in areas with a lot of people.

“Because they’re stressed by the heat and the lack of rain and water and so they’re looking for resources: food, water and shelter,” Hart said.

Hart said they are going to relocate the bear or bears far away from the Santa Rita mountains. He said they relocate them far because sometimes bears can walk up to 100 miles back to where they were originally found.

He said if you do see one you can use bear spray by pointing it downwards and if you don’t have that, don’t play dead. He said it’s also a good idea if you make noise and stand tall.

If you’re attacked he said you should fight back.

Sanchez has a lot of the same advice and said you shouldn’t run, but just stay still. He said you should also stay calm and be very careful.

“Get outdoors and enjoy the beauty is what I recommend to everybody but be safe,” Sanchez said.