As summer continues to heat up, and more people head to the higher elevations for recreation, chances increase for human-bear encounters.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department snapped this photo recently of a damaged ‘Bear Warning’ sign on Mt. Grahamdamaged, AZGFD says, by a local black bear.

According to AZGFD, tell-tale signs of damage to the post indicate it’s commonly used by resident black bears as a “rub tree.” Bears will use rub trees to leave scent marks and relieve itches in spots they can’t reach with their paws.

The signage was displayed at Riggs Lake on Mt. Graham, a designated spot for fishing, picnicking and water recreation.

AZGFD warns that while black bears are typically shy and tend to avoid humans, their sense of smell can draw them to inhabited areas in search of food. If you’re planning on heading into bear territory be cautious about keeping food secured and, if possible, inside sealed containers.

Experts also warn to leave scented lotions, deodorants and perfumes at home, as those smells can also attract bears and other wildlife. If camping, set up camp a reasonable distance away from potential foraging areas, including creeks.

If you do encounter a bear, AZGFD says tactics such as running or playing dead do not work to deter a potential bear attack. Visit the department’s website for more tips to follow in the event of a bear encounter.

Report bear sighting to AZGFD’s dispatch center, (623) 236-7201

More tips on being ‘BearWise’ this summer:

It’s that time of year again, says AZ Game and Fish: Be ‘BearWise’ Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages safety if you see a bear National Black Bear Day recognizes most common bear in North America