A 13-year-old boy in Utah had a terrifying encounter with a bear, after he was bitten while sleeping at a campground in the Moab area on Aug. 9.
The incident happened at the Dewey Bridge Campground, located along the Colorado River, according to a Facebook post by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR).
“The young man was injured on his right cheek and his right ear and was transported to a hospital for treatment,” wrote UDWR.
The administration said they are using dogs and traps to try and capture the bear.
“(We found the bear’s tracks in the sand along the river.) Because this bear attacked a human, it will be euthanized when it is located,” wrote UDWR.
The Dewey Bridge Campground is closed and authorities have put warning signs in the area.
“Remember that Utah is bear country,” said UDWR.
Bears in Utah Mountains
The Utah mountains are home to thousands of black bears, according to UDWR.
“This poses a safety concern for both humans and bears. If a bear obtains food from a home or campsite—even once—it may become aggressive in future attempts,” said UDWR on its website.
UDWR says if bears become aggressive, they have to be destroyed.
It says if a bear enters a human residence, instead of cornering it, people should give it an escape route. “Black bears can quickly inflict thousands of dollars in property damage,” it said.
UDWR says to discourage bears from entering residences one should dispose of trash carefully. “Store trash in a secure location or bear-safe container. Put your trash out for pick-up in the morning, not the previous night. Clean your trash container regularly,” it says.
UDWR even recommends putting in an electric fence to keep bears away.
How to be Bear-Safe on Campsites?
UDWR says that to keep bears away from campsites, no food should be kept in tents.
“Store food, drinks, and scented items securely (in your vehicle, a bear-safe container or a tree—never in your tent). Dispose of trash in bear-proof dumpsters, if available,” wrote UDWR on its website.
To maintain a bear-free campsite UDWR recommends that people clean their campsite tables of all food after eating.
“Burn food off stoves or grills. Pitch tents away from trails in the backcountry. Always sleep inside your tent. Never approach or feed a bear. Report bear sightings to your campground host,” said UDWR.
What to Do if One Encounters a Bear?
UDWR recommends various safety measures for those who encounter a black bear.
One should stand one’s ground upon encountering a bear. “Never back up, lie down, or play dead. Stay calm and give the bear a chance to leave. Prepare to use your bear spray or another deterrent,” UDWR said.
Upon encountering a bear one shouldn’t run away or climb a tree. “Black bears are excellent climbers and can run up to 35 mph—you cannot outclimb or outrun them,” said UDWR.
It recommends that people should understand how a bear behaves. “If a bear stands up, grunts, moans, or makes other sounds, it’s not being aggressive. These are the ways a bear gets a better look or smell and expresses its interest,” it said.