JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — As the days get shorter, Coloradans are trying to squeeze in their time on the trails and have a better chance of running into wildlife as certain animals prepare for hibernation.
“The bear has an important job to do this time of year,” said Jefferson County Ranger Mary Ann Bonnell. “They’re in what’s called hyperplasia right now, and they’re eating 20,000 calories a day, which I would like to do, but I’m not going into hibernation, so I can’t do that.”
JeffCo Open Space just rounded out their third quarter for reported wildlife sightings. The top species reported were bears with 17, followed by rattlesnakes and mountain lions at eight.
“They’re going to be coming out at dawn and dusk because that’s when their prey is out,” Bonnell said of mountain lions. “If you see a mountain lion, a bear, a rattlesnake, we actually want to know about it because that helps us as rangers and as an open space organization to target education.”
Earlier this month, a reported mountain lion sighting shut down Deer Creek Canyon in the county. Bonnell says when people report this wildlife, it allows rangers to go out and set up signs.
“It’s the conversations that the sign generates that we really value,” Bonnell said. “We want our visitors to be asking those questions.”
The county has an interactive map on its website where you can see where different wildlife is reported, and can report a wildlife sighting.