Be ‘Bear Aware’ as You Head Outside this Spring

In General by RMEFLeave a Comment

Bears are waking up from hibernation so wildlife officials want to make sure people venturing outside to hike, fish or otherwise enjoy nature take precautions.

“It’s a good time to begin thinking about large carnivore safety while you’re gearing up for all your spring and summer outdoor activities,” said Dusty Lasseter, Wyoming Game and Fish (WGF) Bear Wise coordinator. “Preparation and awareness regarding safety and conflict avoidance is just as important as planning any other aspect of your fishing, camping, or hiking trip.”

WGF is hosting a series of free workshops across Wyoming that offer information about what to do if you come across a grizzly or wolf in the wild.

Go here to see a schedule of dates and locations.

(Photo source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief received nearly 1,100 reports which led to 76 citations for wildlife violations in 2017.

“Poachers are thieves. They do not represent the hunting community, and the majority of the reports come from hunters and anglers who are out in the field and witness suspicious activity,” said Scott Fischer, program manager for Operation Game Thief. “The hunting community does a great job of policing itself. If you see something, say something.

In 2017, wildlife violators were assessed $74,500 in civil fines, and that money goes directly into the department’s Wildlife Theft Prevention Fund, which pays for the rewards as well as promotion of Operation Game Thief. In addition, 51 individuals had their hunting and/or fishing license revoked by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission as part of their penalty, one of which was a lifetime revocation. The department receives no general fund money from the state of Arizona.

It’s also important to note that mistakes and accidents happen, and the department will work with hunters and anglers who immediately self-report their actions to the Operation Game Thief hotline.

“Mistakes happen in any endeavor, and the amazing thing about hunters is they frequently report themselves,” Fischer said. “Hunters respect wildlife and because of that respect they’re willing to risk penalties in order to ensure meat from the wildlife they take is not wasted.”

(Photo source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)