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Sam Penrod ReportingA bear that wandered into a campground in Central Utah has a new home tonight.
There is no question there are more bear sightings in campgrounds this summer, and people are more diligent in reporting bear sightings after the tragedy last month, involving an 11-year old boy. Today, KSL was there as this bear was caught and then set free in a new area-- given one more chance to stay away from people.
The bear found itself caught in a trap this morning, lured inside by sardines, bacon and molasses. It's at a campground where each week hundreds of LDS young women attend girl's camp. The bear was spotted in the campground early Saturday morning by the camp host, Bonnie Dahle. She said, "He was over past the pavilion eating, and he just looked at us."
The smell of food, one meal in particular, was too much for the bear to resist.
Dewayne Mower, with the Division of Wildlife Resources, said, "Apparently they had roasted a pig on a spit and the juices and everything went on the ground. And the scent from the pig immediately drew this bear into the camp."
A trap was set by the Division of Wildlife Resources and it didn't take long before the bear was captured. Because this bear did not cause any trouble to the camp or the campers, it gets one more chance.
So after a long drive to a new area away from people, the bear was released. With two shots of a beanbag round, the bear was encouraged to run and never come back.
Brad Bradley, Division of Wildlife Resources, said, "This bear, it's his first offense, and in Utah our current policy is two strikes and your out. We marked him before he left the trap, and if he gets in trouble again, he won't get a chance to get out of the trap again."
Bear sightings have prompted Uintah National Forest officials to close two of their campgrounds.The Blackhawk campground in Payson Canyon and theTinny Flat campground in Santaquin Canyon will both remain closed until wildlife officers can catch the bears, or determine they've moved on.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports people have reported 48 bear sightings in Utah this year. The Division of Wildlife Resources says its officers have killed five bears.
The DWR again reminds us all to not leave any food out in the open at campsites and to keep it in sealed containers. In almost all cases, they say this will prevent you from having any bear trouble while you are camping.