How to keep bears wild as they wake from hibernation

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DENVER (KDVR) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) reports that bears are emerging from their dens and searching for food.

Being bear aware not only protects your home and property, but it can save a bear’s life. Wildlife managers say bears should NOT be eating from bird feeders, trash receptacles or other human-provided food sources.

“Every time a bear gets a treat, a bird feeder, a hummingbird feeder, trash, it teaches the bear that people mean food,” said Mark Lamb, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for South Park and the west Metro Denver area. “People who think that it’s one time, no big deal, are totally wrong. It is a big deal when you compound that ‘one time’ with how many ‘one time’ they get from your neighbors, too. It adds up.”

How to prevent human/bear conflict:

  • Keep garbage in a well-secured enclosure.
  • Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup; bring empty cans back inside before dark.
  • Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available online or from your trash hauler.
  • Clean all garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.
  • Take down all bird feeders. Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts – 397 conflicts because of them in 2019 alone. Birds have naturally available food sources during the spring, summer and fall. Don’t let your bird feeder become a bear feeder.
  • Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside – never provide food sources for any wildlife.
  • Clean all BBQ grills.
  • Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • Don’t leave attractants such as snacks, food wrappers, gum, or even scented hand lotions in your car; and always lock vehicle doors.
  • Use bear boxes or bear-proof containers for food and scented items when camping.
  • Don’t leave food outside while camping. If bear boxes aren’t available, leave all food in the trunk of a locked vehicle as your last resort.
  • Review CPW’s Bearproofing Your Home Fact Sheet and conduct a home audit to be sure you are not attracting bears to your property.
  • Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.

For more information visit Living with Bears in Colorado

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