SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

More visitors to the Los Padres National Forest are telling forest officials that they are seeing bears this winter.

Scientists and biologists believe bears are choosing not to hibernate or are waking up early because of the warm weather and lack of food growth caused by the drought.

Bears need to eat enough in order to have enough energy to sustain them through their weeks of sleeping.

Scientists think one reason bears didn't hibernate this winter is because they couldn't find enough food.

Instead, the warm weather encourages them to stay awake and continue looking for more food.

Experts advise storing all food away in your car when you're out in the woods.

And if you do encounter a bear, do not run and scare them away instead.