Investigation underway after bear shot at Scout camp

Published: Friday, July 12 2013 10:38 a.m. MDT

In this July 3, 2013, photo, a young black bear rests on a branch of a big cottonwood tree in Loveland, Colo. An investigation is underway after a young black bear was shot at a Scout camp, having been drawn into the area by a dirty campsite, officials say.

V. Richard Haro, AP

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KAMAS — An investigation is underway after a young black bear was shot at a Scout camp, having been drawn into the area by a dirty campsite, officials say.

An adult leader camping at the Hinckley Scout Ranch encountered the bear as it was snacking on food left on a picnic table about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, said Jodie Anderson, volunteer services coordinator with the Division of Wildlife Resources.

"The bear had come into the camp a couple of different times, just for the fact that the camp had not been taken care of the way that it should have," Anderson said. "Once a bear has a taste of that food and knows he has an opportunity to have more, he'll keep coming back."

The bear was shot three times, Anderson said.

Rick Barnes, Great Salt Lake Council executive for the Boy Scouts of America, said the camp director and a staff member were called to the site and found the bear eating a bag of candy bars that had been left out.

The bear wouldn't leave when leaders attempted to shoo it from the site, and the decision was made to shoot the animal out of concern for the safety of the 500 Scouts in the area.

The group was asked to leave the camp Thursday and won't be allowed to return until next year, said Rick Barnes, Great Salt Lake Council executive for the Boy Scouts of America.

"They put the whole camp at risk and so we sent them home," Barnes said.

Because a bear had been sighted near the camp over the weekend, possibly the same one that was killed, DWR officials had visited campers earlier in the day to warn them about bear-proofing campsites and what to do if they encountered a bear, Anderson said. This particular group had been warned several times, she said.

About four or five other bear incidents have been reported to DWR this summer, Anderson said, most related to food that was left out.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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