New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000



ALBUQUERQUE -- A hiker's encounter with a black bear in the Sandia Mountains was the latest of several reports of bears on the move and looking for food in the mountains, foothills and bordering communities throughout New Mexico .

From Taos and Raton in the north to Silver City and Ruidoso in the south, black bears are out and about. Residents and visitors in bear country statewide are reminded to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their property, and the bears.

The hiker who came upon a black bear May 6 in the Sandias put himself in danger because he wasn't sure what to do when encountering a bear or other large predator. The man ran from the bear, and the bear followed him. Fortunately, he was able to contact Department of Game and Fish Conservation Officer Darrell Cole on his cell phone, and Cole advised him to hold his ground and fight back by throwing rocks at the bear. The strategy worked -- the bear sniffed a rock and walked away, and the hiker returned home with a good story.

"Bear attacks are rare, but whenever you come across a bear, it's very important not to run, no matter how scared you may be," Cole said. "Running may prompt a bear to give chase, and you cannot outrun a bear."

The Department of Game and Fish publishes a booklet, "Living with Large Predators," which is available on the Department website, , or by calling (505) 476-8000. The booklet contains important information about bears, cougars and coyotes and how to avoid conflicts with them.

Here are some suggestions about safely coexisting with bears:

If you see a bear:

If you live or camp in bear country: