Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises public to stay bear aware |

Colorado Parks and Wildlife advises public to stay bear aware

A bear cub peers through the branches of a tree.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy photo

In late August, black bears start to enter hyperphagia — a state of increased appetite that helps them prepare to hibernate. They spend up to 20 hours a day consuming over 20,000 calories, meaning this time of year is one of their most active.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released a reminder Wednesday to keep food and trash in safe places so bears will not be attracted to it. Easily accessible human food, trash, fruit trees, shrubs and other attractants cause most conflicts between bears and people.

Urban areas could see increased bear activity as bears search for food because natural food supplies are limited by freezes and drought conditions. Brad Banulis, a parks and wildlife biologist, said in the release that bears prefer natural food but will go after human food when their options are limited.

Bear reports in Grand County in 2021 peaked in July, but August had the second-most reports and northwest Colorado saw the most bear activity of parks and wildlife’s four regions last year. Grand Lake Town Manager John Crone also mentioned multiple recent bear sightings in the town at the last board of trustees meeting

Parks and wildlife listed tips for securing homes and campsites from hungry bears.

Bearproofing your home:

  • Keep garbage in a well-secured location. 
  • Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup. 
  • Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them free of food odors: ammonia is effective.
  • Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. 
  • Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside. 
  • Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts. Attract birds naturally with flowers and water baths. Do not hang bird feeders from April 15 to Nov. 15.
  • Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them, such as deer, turkeys or small mammals.
  • Don’t allow bears to become comfortable around your house. If you see one, yell at it, throw things at it, make noise to scare it off.
  • Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food. 
  • Clean the grill after each use. 
  • Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. 
  • If you have fruit trees, don’t allow the fruit to rot on the ground. 
  • If you keep small livestock, keep animals in a fully covered enclosure. Construct electric fencing if possible. Don’t store livestock food outside, keep enclosures clean to minimize odors, hang rags soaked in ammonia and/or Pine-Sol around the enclosure.
  • If you have beehives, install electric fencing where allowed. 
  • Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware. 
  • Keep garage doors closed. 

Bearproofing cars, campsites and your home while traveling:

  • Lock your doors when you’re away from home and at night. 
  • Keep the bottom floor windows of your house closed when you’re not at home. 
  • Do not keep food in your vehicle; roll up windows and lock the doors of your vehicles.
  • When car-camping, secure all food and coolers in a locked vehicle. 
  • Keep a clean camp, whether you’re in a campground or in the backcountry. 
  • When camping in the backcountry, hang food 100 feet or more from the campsite; don’t bring any food into your tent.
  • Cook food well away from your tent; wash dishes thoroughly.

Parks and wildlife wrote that staying bear aware through the late summer and fall helps protect humans and bears from harm.

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