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Fisherman has brush with two bears north of Dubois

Aug 13, 2013 - From staff reports

A fisherman who encountered two bears this weekend north of Dubois reportedly fired warning shots to keep the animals from coming too close.

Brian DeBolt, large carnivore conflict coordinator with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department in Lander, said the bears were foraging for fish entrails near the Pinnacles Campground when they approached the group of fishermen. He described the animals as young adults that have been living in the area all year.

"They were about 30 feet away, (so the fisherman) fired a couple warning shots in the air, and the bears dispersed," DeBolt said. "It wasn't really unusual, definitely not an aggressive encounter."

Officials were called to the scene at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday by nearby campers who heard the shots and called police, but DeBolt said the use of the firearm was not unlawful. In fact, he said warning shots are often used in the wilderness to discourage bears from approaching.

"It's got limited effectiveness, but it does work to some extent," DeBolt said. "In this case it worked. The bears just decided, 'Well, that's a lot of loud noise. Maybe it's not worth going and looking for those fish entrails right now.'"

He said his agency officially promotes the use of bear spray, depending on the proximity of the bears.

No closures were announced as a result of the incident.

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