Black bears spotted in Snyderville Basin neighborhoods
May 5, 2015
Early Monday morning at approximately 2 a.m., Dave Queri heard what he described as "some disturbances" in his front yard.
The Jeremy Ranch resident’s master bedroom faces Silver Spur Road and he said after a few minutes of lying in bed and listening to the sounds, he decided to investigate.
Queri said he went out his front door holding only a flashlight when he saw a nearly 300-pound bear rummaging through his garbage. The bear sighting was Queri’s first, even though he’s lived in the area for nearly 23 years.
"I saw the shiny fur and immediately thought, ‘that is not a moose’," he said. "It was unbelievable."
Queri went back inside and dialed 911. He was one of several residents in the area who called the Summit County dispatch after spotting the bear.
Summit County law enforcement officials and officers with the Utah Division of Wildlife and Resources are potentially tracking two bears that have reportedly been wandering in and out of yards in the Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook areas during the past couple of days.
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According to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office call logs, dispatch received a call on Sunday after presumably the bear Queri saw was spotted going over a fence into the backyard of a residence on Saddleback Road. The call logs state several trash cans were knocked over on Saddleback Road, including on Lone Pine Court and Silver Spur.
Dispatch received another call on Monday after a bear was sighted in a backyard on Wagon Wheel Drive in Pinebrook. Deputies and wildlife officers responded to the area, but were unable to locate the animal. When the bear was spotted in another yard at approximately 5:20 p.m., deputies attempted to chase it out of the area, but lost sight of it in the thick underbrush between Wagon Wheel and Blacksmith Road.
Tuesday afternoon Lucas McTaggart, the division’s conservation officer assigned to Park City and Wasatch County, said multiple agencies are attempting to coordinate a plan to deal with the bear, or bears, and are considering relocation.
Phil Douglass, the northern region wildlife conservation outreach manager with DWR, said based on the photographs that have been taken, one of the bears appears to be about a year and half old.
Douglass said there haven’t been any reports indicating the bears have caused any serious problems or damage, but officers are tracking its movements.
"We want to keep it from doing that," Douglass said. "We take these reports very serious. We are monitoring what is happening, what sightings are happening and letting people know if they do see something to call the DWR or local police department to let us know what’s happening."
Entering the spring and summer months, bear sightings tend to increase as they begin coming out of dens and as young bears start looking for a place to establish as home, Douglass said. He said he wants residents in the area to know is that "Utah is bear country."
"It’s not only an issue for Summit County right now," he said. "It’s a good reminder to let people know Utah is bear country and there are bears, mountain lions and other predators. People need to be aware of the measures they can take to protect themselves, their properties and their pets.
"Don’t give the bears that are out and about wandering around a reason to stay," he warned.
For more information about black bears in Utah, go to http://wildlife.utah.gov/learn-more/bear-safety.html or http://wildawareutah.org/ .
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