Bears looking for human food in northern AZ?

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Bears looking for human food in northern AZ?

Post by amy1300 » Mar 30 2018 1:06 pm

I've looked through parts of several threads on the forum re "bears," but did not see anything about Arizona bears, in parts of AZ north of PHX, being aggressive as far as raiding campsites in search of human food. (I did see some stories about Tucson bears being destroyed for seeking human food, but nothing north of Phoenix.)

On a recent backpack to the northern Mazatzals, I used my small Bear Vault to be on the safe side, but wonder whether it's really necessary. (It's hard to fit in the pack -- she whined.) Is anyone aware of a history of northern AZ bears going after campers' food?? If so, what locations?
(I suspect that the AZTrail will attract them soon, if it hasn't already.)
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Re: Bears looking for human food in northern AZ?

Post by nonot » Mar 30 2018 5:17 pm

AZ bears are black bears. By nature they will generally be afraid of humans and run the other way. The exceptions are momma bears protecting cubs, and bears that have become habituated to humans - usually be eating garbage or eating human food.

Areas on the mogollon rim near developed areas like Payson have had trouble bears. And some people have run into problem bears, possibly relocated from those areas, in the middle of the mazatzal wilderness, and in areas near payson and sedona that I believe I've read about over the last 15 years.

Do everyone a favor and protect your food from bears. Bears are opportunists and unlikely to bother if your food is protected by hanging, bear barrels, or other means. A bear which grabs human food once will learn from that and do it again at the next opportunity. This creates a problem for the next guy and will lead to the bear being destroyed or relocated, and possibly people getting hurt or killed.

I consider hanging food to be a good alternative to the bear barrel, as long as you do it correctly - it is not as heavy though it opens you up to squirrel and other animals.

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