The U.S. Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish & Game remind Southeast Alaskans to use extra caution when recreating outdoors at this time of year. A decrease in natural food sources leads to a greater likelihood of encounters between bears and humans. Rarely, these encounters can be aggressive. When in bear country, always be aware of your surroundings and keep pets under control. Avoid surprising a bear by being bear aware: be observant of bear sign and consider limited sight distances on trails. Remember to make noise while traveling on trails and in areas bears frequent, such as fish streams and tide flats. Be prepared to see a bear and react in a safe and prudent manner.