Arizona bear attacks sign of things to come?


Every summer when the warm weather arrives, folks head-out into the wilderness to enjoy some peace and solitude. Often times this means inadvertently travelling into bear country.

The state of Arizona, it seems, has been a ‘hotbed’ of activity this summer with regards to the weather and bear attacks. In less than 1 month there were three separate bear attacks; one which left a man in critical condition.

The 30-year old was airlifted  to a Scottsdale hospital after a bear crumpled his forehead and left large lacerations on the man’s legs and arm, officials said.

Given the fact that Arizona has recorded only 10 bear attacks in the last 20 years, these three attacks this summer are certainly out of the ordinary.

Officials believe the increase is attacks is primarily based on drought conditions which have forced the bears into areas with humans because their natural food sources are no longer available.

Sound familiar??

Can we expect the same here in our neck of the woods with our drought conditions?

Let’s just say, I would keep my wits about me when travelling into bear country this summer.


Bear Warning Sign:


46 thoughts on “Arizona bear attacks sign of things to come?”

    1. Good one Johan, so what does it mean when said kitchen is realllly hot and dry for an extended period of time??


  1. I believe the population is growing, and becoming more comfortable with rummaging in populated areas. They are becoming like large raccoons, especially in the north.

    I am taking my two sons to a 5-day fishing trip at a cottage in northern Quebec next week. I will be reiterating the usual precautions… Tell someone where you are going, don’t go in the woods alone, make plenty of noise while walking, look for signs (prints, scat, etc. If one is spotted back away slowly and don’t turn your back to it, if it charges scream and throw your hands up and stand your ground. Then get help. However, I will be taking my shotgun with slugs for protection in case one should get too close. I don’t believe bear (pepper) spray will save you.

    I think awerness and preparation can help in avoiding a confrontation with a bear. I find many of the stories of bear attacks we hear in the news can be avoided if the proper precautions are followed. If all else fails,

    1. GPG, you sound well prepared to me..those bruins haven’t got a chance!

      Can I ask what region of Northern QC you’re headed into?


  2. I think things will be very interesting this fall if the drought continues. I don’t know what the weather has been like in northern Ontario and Quebec, but if it’s anything like it is here, food will be hard to come by for bears, and all critters for that matter. I know last year there were tons of berries which made the hunting difficult. Things could be totally opposite this fall. Bear hunters could be in for a very productive season if bears have limited natural food. The donuts and scraps put out by hunters will be even harder to resist!!!

    1. sureshot-dave, we’ll be sure to monitor that on our trail cams!


  3. Bear bells are good for making noise while walking in bear country – to warn the bears of your presence. Le Baron has some excellent bear bells for sale. There are three bells on a nylon strap that can be attached with velcro.

  4. We’re going to Lac Duparquet, just south of Abitibi lake. Fishing should be good!

    1. Man, look what just crawled out of the woodwork…I thought perhaps a bear had gotten you, Rob?


  5. Ha no, just been busy clearing the farm. Been lucky on the bear front so far, the one out back here has stayed back there, although haven’t seen him on camera this season since my camera was stolen this spring. Just a bit of scat and that’s it. Beats last year when we found scat near the house

  6. Outdoors Guy

    Due to a couple of incidents in our area, we don’t go in the bush without the shotgun.

  7. I’ve used bear spray on a bear, and it does work, this however, was not an attacking bear, just one thinking about it.
    As far as a shotgun with slugs go, I’d prefer to use SSG or #2’s than a slug, if you miss with a slug a bear is very quick and you might not get another crack at it, however, it’s easy to miss a bit and still hit a bear with SSG or #2
    With this summers extreme dryness and heat, I wonder how that will affect the berry crop this fall. If the bears can’t get berries to fatten up on, they find some other food, like people.
    I think I’m going to call my buddy in Sudbury right now and tell him I’m in for the bear hunt in August

  8. Iggy, I was cautious of getting bear spray after watching Thomas Pigeon of Canada in the Rough demonstrate how to use it. I would stick with the SSGs rather than something that would make me sweet and spicy to a bear’s palate if the wind shifts. Any comments on how that stuff sprays out or recommendations on what kind to get?

    1. johan, we have been ‘using’ bear spray for years up north during the trout season. That being said, we’ve never actually had to spray any bears..we just carry the can with us on portages etc…

      I know the one we have claims to shoot up to 30 feet, but being 10 years old at least, it may not actually shoot 3 feet if put to the test..I got it at LeBaron.


  9. Jeff,

    Your can of bear spray has probably expired…I wouldn’t rely on it if I were you.

    I had a can of bear spray that expired last year, so I thought it would be good to practice with it. I used it up in some woods near my house The can sent a bright orange spray out at least 30 feet for several seconds. It was easy to control the direction of the spray. There was a slight breeze that wafted some of it in my direction, and I can tell you, it’s strong stuff!

    I will be hiking into a remote lake in Quebec in the next week or two, and I will be carrying bear bells, bear spray and a large knife.

    1. Ok fishr, but your expired can seemed to work just fine…even a year after the expiration date? I do see your point though..probably not a product you want to take a chance on when you need it most!

      That remote lake in QC wouldn’t happen to be around your old stompin the area of my hunt camp?


  10. I think expiration dates on bear spray is so that you’ll buy another can. When I used mine on a bear on Esanagi Lake near White River, I was shocked to see how far it sprayed, and the bear left, although only for a while, but before I sprayed it, I banged pots and pan lids to try to scare it and also a whole bunch of firecrackers left there by the Americans who had been to the fly-in outpost camp before us and the bear wasn’t afraid at all.
    The wind drifted some back at my son and I, and trust me, it’s not something you ever want to taste or get in your eyes. We only tasted a little bit, but it was very very hot,

  11. Jeff,
    Actually, I tested the bear spray last year shortly after the expiry date.

    Mountain Equipment Coop sells tight fitting neoprene belt holsters for bear spray cans…they’re the best I’ve seen. I think they sell the bear spray too.

    The lake where I will be fishing is in the Outaouais, rather than those lakes near your hunting camp in the Laurentians.

    1. Well, it sounds like regardless of the type..getting hit with bear spray even a little dose, is a memorable experience!

      I like the belt idea actually, it would feel more like a side-arm I would imagine.

      Iggy, you must wonder what would have happened if you didn’t have those deterrents with you?


  12. We probably would have stayed in the cabin, especially at night, maybe peed through the window.
    What happened was when we got there, there was rotting garbage in a green garbage bag inside the cabin, we took it out and put it in the outhouse and figured it was all ok and went fishing, when we got back, there was the bear, door ripped off the outhouse door and garbage everywhere. We kind of angled around the bear to get to the cabin then started trying to figure out what to do, it was almost dark, first came the pot covers, then firecrackers, then the bear spray.
    Next day we had no running water, turned out the bear chewed through the hose.

    Funny story, when we driving up there, the three of us were talking about bear encounters, the other guy ‘s son was the pilot for the outfitter and got us a heck of a deal to go in for three or four days. My son was the third member of our party and he was 9 years old. As we told stories bear he sat back and listened.
    Anyway we went out fishing after taking care of the stinky garbage and when we came back to camp my son ran ahead to the cabin, only to shortly return with eyes like saucers. He said “dad, there’s a bear” I told him to stop goofing around and he said with more excitement in his voice, no no dad, there’s a bear just near the camp, you couldn’t see the camp through the cedar trees and I said, Josh stop fooling around, I know we were talking about bears on the way up but just relax, there’s no bears around here”.
    This is where I should tell you that I’ve always had a deal with my son, at camp you can swear but as soon as we hit the pavement, it stops. Just don’t get silly with the bad words
    So he looks at me and say, “Dad THERE IS A @#$%ING BEAR”
    Then I knew he was serious
    and he was right

  13. A fellow cottage owner in our area woke up one morning recently to find a bear rummaging through an empty cooler on his deck. Another neighbour had a rather close encounter with a bear on our favourite hunting trail. We are spending a lot of time on that trail right now because we are training our lab puppy. I prefer to have the shotgun just in case.

  14. We’ve had all kinds of bear report around our cottage this summer
    I just wonder what it’ll be like when the berry crop arrives, if it does, this hot dry weather will affect the berry crop but I’m not really sure how, anyone know if this weather is good or bad for the berry crop?

    1. Iggy, by all accounts this dry is not good for any crop including berries. Better keep your cottage garbage inside until you leave.


  15. Bear bangers are another possible deterrent in a close bear encounter. They’re as loud as firearms but care must be exercised when using them. If the banger lands in the wrong place, you could drive the bear towards your position.

    1. fishr, those Bear bangers sound like more trouble than their worth. Is there also a risk of injury if you discharge them incorrectly?


  16. we don’t bother putting the garbage out we just bring it home with us, we’ve had trouble with coons there and I know there has been bear troubles in the past, we found a newspaper article in the cottage about attempted bear break-ins in our own cottage, so they aren’t tricking us. I have two BBQ’s on our deck and so far no attacks on them, but we lose a hummimgbird feeder about once every two weeks. We bring them in at night when we are there but leave them out on the last day, pretty sure it’s coons getting them though

  17. There is a risk of injury with bear bangers, like any other explosives. But they’re light and compact, fairly easy to use and a noise-making option if you are unable to carry firearms. The pen-style launcher can also fire flares and whistles.

  18. Here’s a video from the government of Alberta regarding the proper use of bear spray:

  19. the berry c rop is good this summer (rasberries and blackberries) but with the lack of rain they are drying up like raisins i would imagine the bears will still eat them but they have no moisture in them unless they are in the shade but this past weekend they were all dry. the bears on my property seem to be doing a lot more digging than usual, found a couple of spots were they dug down around big rocks about a foot. all the smaller ones are flipped up of course. they stole my deer feeder two weeks ago(which i havent found yet) so i stopped feeding them, too much activity for me, hopefully theyll move on until the windfall apples start..

    1. that’s interesting mcdan, sounds like those bears are supplementing their food supply with whatever they can find.

      Man, I watched an episode of “I Survived…” last night..a man from Bella Coola BC recounting the details of his grizzly attack a couple of years back. What struck me was the absolute helplessness he felt and the power of a 700-pound grizz would be incredible…the man even had an axe with him and no chance at all to use.


  20. btw everyone be aware of bear dung that smells like pepper and contains little bells. stay away from area.

  21. The string of Eagle River-related attacks continued on June 11, when a woman from North Kenai suffered leg injuries in a brown bear attack near the Eagle River Campground. That attack prompted wildlife officials to close the area where she was attacked, a narrow, winding trail that departs from the campground along the Eagle River’s south bank.

  22. @ mcdan,

    A study in Alaska showed that pepper spray is 90% effective in bear attacks. Do you have any better suggestions for deterrents? It isn’t always possible to carry firearms.

    Most people learn in grade school that capital letters should be used at the beginning of sentences.

    1. fishr, I’m pretty sure mcdan’s reference was to a joke ‘bear warning’ sign going around the Internet for awhile..I posted it above.

      The joke was basically about a Park that advised campers to carry little bells with them and use Pepper spray as a deterrent…and the punchline was how to identify the droppings: “Grizzly bear sh*t has bells in it and smells like pepper”


  23. Yellowstone officials emphasized that bear attacks remain “extremely rare.” No visitors were injured by bears in the park last year, and Wednesday’s killing was the first bear-caused human fatality in Yellowstone since 1986. Rangers haven’t taken any action against the bear involved in this week’s attack, which the park service called “an apparent attempt to defend a perceived threat to her cubs.” If the park investigation concludes that the sow behaved normally, she will not be killed, park spokeswoman Linda Miller told Reuters.

  24. Jeff,

    I see the humor in mcdan’s joke now.

    For many years I spent a great deal of time in the deep woods searching for hidden brook trout lakes, as you have done, and had several encounters with black bears. For a long time I never carried any form of protection. Now I take some precautions, even if the chances of being attacked are very low.

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