JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a warning for people in Colorado: get ready to see even more bears.
The animals are entering hyperphagia right now, when they can spend up to 20 hours every day eating as they get ready to hibernate.
During this time, some bears can eat up to 20,000 calories per day.
“Bears are going to be out on the landscape and that’s natural,” said CPW’s Jason Clay. “They’re all around us. They share the same habitat. We just don’t want them in our neighborhoods… raiding your trashcans, bird feeders and the freezer in your garage.”
Bears in Colorado have already had a lot of encounters with humans.
So far this year, Parks and Wildlife has received more than 3,800 reports about bears.
In many cases, bears are attracted to homes and businesses that are not properly bear-proof.
Here are some tips from Parks and Wildlife:
- Don’t leave trash out overnight unless it’s in a bear-proof enclosure or container. Be sure to research all local ordinances and regulations if vacationing.
- Clean your trash cans regularly.
- Don’t store food of any kind in an unlocked garage, flimsy shed or on or under your deck.
- Don’t leave anything with an odor outside, near open windows or in your vehicle, even if you’re home. That includes scented candles, air fresheners, lip balms and lotions.
- Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck, cleaning your grills after each use. Don’t allow food odors to linger.
- Only feed birds when bears are hibernating, generally Nov. 15 – April 15. If you want to feed birds when bears are active, bring in liquid or seed feeders at night or when you leave the house.
- If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to rot on the ground. Electric fences provide good protection for small orchards.
- When camping do not leave coolers, food or pots/pans out when you’re not in camp. Place them in a locked, hard-sided vehicle.
- If a bear comes close to your home, scare it away. Loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn sends most bears running.
- Utilize electric fencing, unwelcome mats and scent deterrents like ammonia to teach bears that your property is not bear-friendly.
- If a bear enters your home, open doors and windows and ensure it can leave the same way it got in. Don’t approach the bear or block escape routes.
- Never approach a bear. If a bear won’t leave, call your local CPW office or Colorado State Patrol.
- If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.