The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is warning people to be aware of bears that have yet to go into hibernation.

Anchorage-area Biologist Dave Battle said the department is getting regular reports of both black and brown bears who are still out and about.

“Don’t think that just because we're heading into winter that the bears are all asleep," he said. "They’re not."

According to Battle, most black bears enter their dens by October, while brown bears are sometimes still up in November. He said warmer weather is a factor in delaying hibernation but so is an abundance of food.

“It’s a response to less food availability as well as the cold," he said. "So right now, not only is it not cold, they probably still have a bit more food available to them and so they're staying out to pack in every calorie they can.”

Battle said one bear in particular has concerned biologists.

A large brown bear on the Hillside near Birch and O’Malley roads has been caught raiding garbage cans more than once. Battle said the department is keeping its eye on the bear as they debate whether it poses a real threat.

“We would definitely like reports of this bear, whether you just see him in your neighborhood, whether he's getting into trash, whatever, we would just like to know the location. That will be valuable information for us in the decision-making progress,” he said.

To report wildlife encounters to Fish and Game, call 907-267-2253 or visit the department's website.

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