The number of encounters with bears in the White Mountain National Forest is on the rise early this season, prompting rangers to issue early warnings and step up enforcement of safety rules.
Colleen Mainville, a spokeswoman for the national forest, says the black bears are getting bold. One tried to enter a tent while another was searching the back of pickup trucks for food. There are an estimated 4,800 to 5,000 bears in the state.
Most people will never see a bear but when the critters find food, they learn that they can mooch a meal from the two-legged visitors.
Forest rangers have begun to step up patrols and visitors who fail to follow bear-safe rules can be fined $125 to $5,000 and face up to six months in jail.