Officer kills bear near Marion |

Officer kills bear near Marion

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A state Division of Wildlife Resources officer has shot and killed a black bear at a church camp in Marion.

The roughly two-year-old cinnamon-colored bear was euthanized about two weeks ago, DWR conservation officer Bruce Johnson said in a telephone interview.

"We determined that that bear qualified as too much of a risk and a threat to public safety," Johnson said.

The bear was eating food it had retrieved from a tent when campers called 911, Johnson said, adding that a non-lethal stun gun was used on the bear before it was shot.

"They could see the bear from a distance," Johnson said, adding that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates the youth camp. "The same camp has been talked to in the past."

Meanwhile, a woman with her children about two weeks ago encountered a black bear at a cabin in Weber Canyon about seven miles east of Oakley, Johnson said.

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"The relatives who were there before them had left out a garbage can full of their marshmallows and their camping food stuff," Johnson said. "So this mom and her kids end up walking into a bear at her cabin on the back deck that was eating from a humming-bird feeder and had access to that garbage can."

The public needs to become more aware of how to stay safe in bear country, Johnson said.

"I am discouraged with the human-bear interactions that could be prevented, but they are not," he said. "People at these campgrounds will cook their dinner and leave the pots out, or leave hot dogs on the ground."

Within 12 days in July, five other black bears were killed in Utah.

Those shootings began July 1.

A livestock operator shot a bear while trying to protect his cattle in one of the cases, according to state Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Mark Hadley.

In the other cases, people who said they felt threatened by the animals shot the bears, Hadley said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Wildlife officials are concerned about the shootings, Hadley said.

"People don’t appear to be seeing any more bears in Utah this year than they saw last year," DWR game mammals coordinator Justin Dolling said. "And last year, no one outside of our agency shot a bear to protect themselves or others."

Dolling said black bears are usually more afraid of us than we are of them.

"If a black bear knows you are in the area, it will probably turn and run away from you as fast as it can," Dolling said.