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BLM Closes Campsite After Human-Bear Encounter; BLM Also Offers Safety Tips

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The bear-human encounters are back again, this time in the Shirley Basin.

The Rawlins office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Friday it is closing the Prior Flat Campground after a bear sow and cub were seen there Thursday, according to a news release.

The bears were digging through trash cans and charging a man and his son.

The campground will reopen after proper public safety measures are installed. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has set a bear trap in the campground, which is west of Wyoming Highway 487 halfway between Casper and Medicine Bow.

The BLM intends to install bear-resistant trash cans in the area next week. The BLM will reopen the campground after that.

This announcement comes a day after a yearling bear cub was captured just north of CY Avenue near Garden Creek in Casper.

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The BLM offers these safety tips about bears and you:

Campground and Picnic Area Precautions

• Never cook or store food in or near your tent.
• Hang food and other items with strong odors such as soap out of reach of bears. Hang items at least 10 feet above the ground. If no trees are available, store your food in airtight or bear-proof containers.
• Change your clothing before you go to sleep. Don’t wear what you cooked in to go to bed. Store smelly clothing along with your food.
• Keep the area clean. Wash dishes, dispose of garbage, and wipe down tables.
• Burn garbage completely in a hot fire and pack trash out. Don’t bury it.

Backcountry and Trail Precautions

• Don’t surprise bears. If you’re hiking, make your presence known. Make noise by talking loudly, singing, or wearing a bell.
• If you can, travel with a group. Groups are noisier and easier for bears to detect.
• Keep in mind that bears tend to be more active at dawn and dusk so plan your hikes accordingly.
• Stay on marked trails and obey the camping and hiking regulations in the area.
• Watch for tracks, scat, digs, and trees rubbed by bears.
• Leave your dog at home!

If You Encounter a Bear

• Remain calm. Avoid sudden movements.
• Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. If it changes its behavior, you’re too close so back away.
• If you see a bear but the bear doesn’t see you, detour quickly and quietly.
• If a bear sees you, try to get its attention while it is still farther away. You want it to know you’re human so talk in a normal voice and waive your arms.
• Remember that a standing bear is not always a sign of aggression. Bears often will stand to get a better view.
• Throw something onto the ground like your camera if the bear pursues you. The bear may be distracted by this and allow you to escape.
• Never feed or throw food to a bear.

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