AZGFD Dispatches Bear That Attacked Youth in Alpine

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) dispatched a black bear last night after it attacked a 15-year-old male in Alpine, Ariz.

The victim was sitting inside a cabin when the bear entered through an open door and proceeded to swipe at him from behind. It then left the cabin and approached other family members before entering the cabin a second time and swiping at the victim’s arm. After arriving on scene, AZGFD wildlife officers were able to quickly locate and dispatch the bear. The victim sustained injuries to the face and arm and was treated at a local hospital.

AZGFD officers said the bear was a male black bear estimated to be about 3 years old. The carcass will be examined and tested for disease by the department’s wildlife health specialists.

Black bears are predatory animals and should always be considered unpredictable and dangerous. Wildlife officers are guided by the department’s human-wildlife conflicts policy which generally describes acceptable or unacceptable wildlife behaviors and the appropriate responses. Public safety is the department’s top priority in these instances.

This incident marks the 16th bear attack on people in the state since 1990. There have been two fatal bear attacks in Arizona since then, which is as far back as the department’s database tracks. The most recent fatality occurred last year in Prescott. Due to the recent attack, AZGFD is reminding those visiting or living in bear country to be “bear aware.” Below are some tips to avoid conflicts with bears:

When camping

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep food and attractants secured and inaccessible to bears. Do not keep food in a tent.
  • Don’t burn left-over food or trash on the grill.
  • Set up a campsite away from places where bears might forage for food, such as creeks, rivers and other bodies of water.

When hiking

  • Don’t wear scented lotions, deodorant or perfumes.
  • Make noise or hike in groups.
  • Hiking with a pet? Keep it on a leash at all times.

In case of a bear encounter

  • Do NOT run.
  • Back away slowly while maintaining eye contact with the bear.
  • Make yourself look bigger than you are by flaunting your arms or pulling your shirt/jacket up higher than your head.
  • Throw items and yell at the bear.
  • If attacked, fight back.

For questions, or to obtain a brochure on living with bears, visit

If you see bears displaying unacceptable behavior, hanging around in human-occupied areas, and/or showing no fear of humans, please report sightings to AZGFD at 623-236-7201. In an emergency, call 911.