Hungry bears terrorizing AZ neighborhood - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Hungry bears terrorizing AZ neighborhood

Game and fish officials are telling residents in Arizona to take their trash inside until pick up, because bears in the area are becoming a little to comfortable....a little bold...and they're hungry.

Mark Hart, a Game and Fish official says, "On Friday, we started a population management that allows five archery hunters between now and December 31 to take bears out of the mountains."

It's the first state authorized bear hunt since 2006-- the reason?  officials say nuisance bears are getting way too close to home.

One bear died crossing the highway on Monday morning.

Resident Jeff Wielbruda says, "From where my sight was, I could see bear was lying down right here."

A rare and unusual sight on Highway 90, officials say they usually don't come this far down into the valley.

"Over here we had a bunch of popsicles, on top of the tool box there... They got into the popsicles... Probably on a sugar high when he went across the highway," Hart joked.

State Game and Fish officials say at least 10 different bears have been spotted in the area just this month. They're guessing the Huachuca Mountains are home to about 35 to 65 black bears.

Officials say two dry winters in a row and the devastating Monument Fire that charred their habitat is driving the bears into the neighborhoods.

"There's not enough manzanita nuts, acorns or juniper berries in the Huachucas to sustain them, so they're foraging for food in residential areas," Hart explained.

And they're not afraid. Pictures from the Fort Huachuca Army Base shows a male bear going to town on lunch boxes left behind by startled soldiers when he walked up on them.

The army base has put up signs warning soldiers: Live bears are in the area.

Fame and Fish officials say bear hunting is necessary.

They've already tried to relocate the bears. They've even tried to haze them with stinging rubber bullets but the bears just keep coming back.

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