Lack of snow in Utah is bad news for bears

EMERY COUNTY, Utah - A dry summer followed by a winter that has left Utah's snowpack below average this year is bad news for bears.

Snowpack ranges from 46 percent of normal in some southern Utah areas to 81 percent in a couple of northeast parts of the state.

The average for the state is just under 60 percent of normal.

This week biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources were in Emery County looking for Black Bears.

"Each year the Division of Wildlife monitors radio collars on bears to look at cub production and cub survival," wildlife biologist Brad Crompton said.

There was some urgency in the search, because a mother Black Bear was reported wandering the hills by herself.

"When she was spotted a week or two ago she had 2 yearling cubs with her," Crompton said.

Biologists hope to find out what happened to her cubs, but say in general, 2017 was a bad year for Black Bear cubs.

"Last summer was a bit dry so cub production and survival is a bit lower than we expected this year."

Despite the rough weather, no one at the DWR is overly concerned.

"Overall statewide bear populations are doing very well," Crompton said.  "Increasing bear populations throughout the state."