Hot dry weather this summer has shriveled and stunted the growth of plants in mountain meadows and prompted a variety of wildlife to venture into urban areas and campgrounds to look for food.
Several black bears have been killed recently for raiding livestock. Many deer, elk, porcupines, skunks, raccoons and other animals have been found rummaging about in populated areas this summer, especially in the foothills along the Wasatch Front, searching for food.As cities enlarge, the areas previously occupied by wildlife diminish, reducing not only the living space for animals, but their food supplies.
People who live high in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains should not be surprised, therefore, to find deer nibbling on bushes and trees in their front yard or to find raccoons raiding their garbage cans.
Many times, however, people who live in east bench homes or in newly built foothill subdivisions along the Wasatch Front have been heard to complain about wildlife disturbing their yards and landscaping.
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources plans to issue an increased number of doe deer permits this year along the Wasatch Front, especially in Davis County, because of the increasing herd numbers. This should help next year to solve the problem of so many deer wandering into people's yards or being hit by cars.
Wildlife should not be enticed to come out of the wilds. Covering garbage cans, and fencing yards in the foothills can help. Providing food for deer and elk, such as was done several winters ago when record snowfalls limited forage, is another answer.
Above all, people should respect wildlife and leave animals alone when they venture into town. In most cases, they will return to the mountains by themselves.