Third Black Bear Shot by Utah Campers
For the third time in a month, a black bear has been shot by campers in Utah who were worried it was becoming too bold around humans, according to the Deseret News, Salt Lake City.
Early Sunday (July 12), campers at Barker Reservoir on Boulder Mountain in Garfield County, 200 miles south of Salt Lake City, shot a bear that had been wandering in and out of their campsites for the past two days, said Lynn Chamberlain, conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources southern region.
When campers heard noises that morning, they tried to chase the bear off, Chamberlain said. Eventually, the bear stopped running, stomped its foot and barked at the campers, he said.
So the camper, whose name is not being released, shot the German shepherd-size, cinnamon-colored black bear, which died instantly, Chamberlain said.
“It had been after food left out in the campgrounds,” he said. “That’s the case with most of them. They come in for one reason or another, and it kind of gets out of hand.”
On July 3 and 4, two other black bears were shot in Utah County.
The first bear wandered into the Balsam Campground up Hobble Creek Canyon and bit into a cooler before the campground host shot it.
The next day, several families were barbecuing up the south fork of Provo Canyon when a bear wandered into a cabin’s backyard and refused to be scared off by wood being thrown and even warning shots from a gun. The homeowner then shot the bear.
The Barker Lake bear hadn’t been aggressive toward anyone or threatened any campers, but it was getting closer and closer each time, Chamberlain said, taking food and fish that had been left out.
Chamberlain said the camp host had actually contacted the Forest Service earlier about the nuisance bear, but the division didn’t hear from them until it was too late.
“We wish they would have gotten ahold of us quicker,” he said. “(We could have) maybe done something.”
The campground host did warn all of the campers who came into the campground that there were bears in the area, but the campground wasn’t closed, Chamberlain said.
When contacted late Tuesday, the Forest Service was unable to provide details about who was contacted and when.
Chamberlain said the Barker Lake area is historically known for its bear population, but this is the first real problem with a bear in that area.
Because shooting a bear without a permit is illegal, the case has been referred to the Garfield County attorney for review.