Keep bears wild by securing all food, trash
By Aimee Eaton
As summer winds down and the weather turns colder, the importance of being bear-aware grows even greater. Around Mt. Crested Butte this summer, bears have been regularly seen, though they have not yet caused problems.
“Bears have been sighted in Mt. Crested Butte, including a smaller red bear and a mature black bear, both roaming around the Pitchfork and Castle Road area up toward Snowmass Road and the Plaza,” said Mt. Crested Butte police department spokesperson Marjorie Trautman. “There have been additional bear sightings near the Three Seasons and Mountain Sunrise condos and this may be the same black bear previously mentioned. As the seasons change and get on toward colder weather, we can expect more troublesome activity as the bruins seek to actively pack on the winter weight.”
Bears have also been seen along Cement Creek Road, where a bear was reported to have killed a deer near the Pioneer Guest Cabins.
“Taking a live kill is an unusual activity for a bear. However, if the deer were injured, say if it were hit be a car, a bear may be opportunistic and take the meat,” said Trautman, adding that an officer dispatched the deer and although the bear had wandered away as people gathered in the area, it stayed close by.
A Mt. Crested Butte police officer also spotted a small blond bear near the Baxter Gulch Trailhead. It was reported that the “little guy was just sitting in the wildflowers swatting at flies.”
Lastly, a black bear cub was struck and killed by an automobile on Highway 135. That incident occurred July 17 near the county shops south of Cement Creek Road.
According to the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, the best way to keep bears safe is to keep them wild, and the best way to keep them wild is to keep all food sources, including garbage, bird seed, pet food, compost and cooking implements like barbeque grills in secure locations.
Bears that learn to use human food sources can cause property damage, and may become aggressive, which can lead to the animal having to be destroyed.
“Trash is an easy source of food for bruins, and as we know, trash causes numerous problems, including training bears away from foraging naturally in the wilderness and drawing them closer inside town limits and towards people, which never ends well for a bear,” said Trautman. “Mt. Crested Butte police officers have had no need to write any trash tickets so far this summer. Residents and visitors are to be commended for their effective trash management and are encouraged to keep it up.”
For more information about bears and how to best protect them, visit, the Department of Parks and Wildlife at http://cpw.state.co.us.