Bears know that fall is approaching and they are starting to prepare for their long winter nap. Crested Butte is starting to see some autumn bear activity and chief marshal Tom Martin reported that a mid-size male bear has been a regular evening visitor to town the last week or so.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds people to take precautions to prevent conflicts with bears.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say food attractants made available by people are the cause of most of the conflicts.
“Overall, natural food sources that bears rely on look good,” said J Wenum, area wildlife manager in the Gunnison area. “But bears are also entering the stage of hyperphagia, when they need to eat up to 20,000 calories a day to get ready for hibernation. People need to be especially cautious with their garbage and food attractants.”
Giving bears easy access to food allows them to become comfortable in an area. If they find food they can become aggressive and will act to defend it. A bear protecting its food source can be very dangerous.
“Don’t ever let bears get comfortable in your neighborhood or around your house,” Wenum said.
Following are tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife on simple precautions people can take to avoid conflicts with bears:
—Keep garbage in a well-secured location; put out garbage only on the morning of pickup.
—Use a bear-resistant trashcan.
—Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them odor-free.
—If you don’t have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.
—If you have bird feeders, clean up beneath them daily, bring them in at night, and hang them high so that they’re completely inaccessible to bears.
—Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food, and they’ll eat anything.
—Allow grills to run for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors.
—Keep garage doors closed.
—Keep the bottom-floor windows of your house closed when you’re not at home and at night.
—Keep doors locked, especially if your home has door handles that bears can push down easily.
—If you see a bear in your neighborhood, make it feel unwelcome by making noise or throwing things at it. But stay at a safe distance and never approach the animal.
—Do not keep food in your vehicle; lock vehicle doors.
For more information, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website: cpw.state.co.us.
If you want to talk to a wildlife officer about bear issues, please call your local CPW office.