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About Bears and You . . .

Black Bears are common throughout the Wind River Range. Although a Grizzly encounter is possible, it is unlikely. Grizzly habitat is typically to the north and east of the Pinedale area. Black Bears are not as aggressive as Grizzly Bears and most often want to avoid you. The Pinedale Ranger District has a pamphlet which describes the physical differences between Grizzly and Black Bears which can help you know which type of bear you may be dealing with.

Tips to help prevent unpleasant bear encounters:

  • Learn to tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly bear.
  • Choose a campsite free of fresh bear signs.
  • A bear's sense of smell is hundreds of times keener than a human's. Keep a clean camp. When in campgrounds, leave food items locked in car trunks, hard-sided trailers or bear resistant containers (coolers, packpacks, wooden boxes and tents are not bear resistant!). When backpacking, hang food, garbage and other bear attractants well away from your sleeping area (100 yards )
  • Store food very high in a tree (at least 10-15 feet high and 4 feet from the tree trunk). Pick a tree away from your camp. Under no circumstances should you store food in your tent or leave food in it.
  • If you are above tree line, store attractants in doubled plastic bags, as high and as far from your camp as practical. Remember that things like toothpaste, cosmetics, deodorant, canned foods & beverages, pet food, horse pellets and animal carcasses care also bear attractants.
  • Cook meals away from your sleeping area. Do not sleep in or near the clothes you have handled food in. Always keep a clean camp and wash all utensils after eating. Either burn garbage or hang it with other bear attractants. Do not bury garbage!
  • As you hike in forested areas, talk with your partner(s) or make some sort of noise. Bears do not like surprises!
  • Do not try to feed or approach bears, ever! Avoid coming between a mother bear and her cubs. Keep pets from harassing bears. Dogs and bears do not mix!
  • Report any bear encounters to the Game & Fish Department or US Forest Service, no matter how insignificant.

A fed bear is a dead bear!

A fed bear is a dead bear!

When people do not store their food and garbage properly, a bear will quickly learn that this is an easy meal. Once a bear has become habituated to human food, it loses it's fear of humans. Bears that seek food at campsites may be removed from the area or destroyed. The bear in this photograph was shot and killed after it entered a camp where food and garbage were improperly stored. You can prevent scenes like this from happening by storing food and garbage correctly while camping.

More useful web sites with bear information:
http://www.udap.com/safety.htm (good info on bear safety)
http://www.nps.gov/yell/nature/animals/bear/infopaper/info1.html (Yellowstone National Park)
http://www.montana.com/rattlesnake/ (Good graphics for black & grizzly bear)

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