Apr 30, 2014 6:44 PM by Kelsey Kennedy

Parks and Wildlife asks you to be "Bear Aware"

Springtime means hungry bears are coming out of hibernation. They're looking for a fast and easy meal. It's your job to be bear aware, and help keep them out of this kind of trouble.

A female bear and her cubs were found rooting through a trash can that was left in a driveway early Wednesday morning. A resident of the home told that the family had been keeping the trash outside where it was more easily accessible.

Bears are not typically aggressive towards people, but they can be if you get in between them and their cubs or food source. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Abbie Walls says that's why it's important not to attract them in the first place.

"Bears are extremely intelligent," she says. "They also have very sensitive noses and they can smell food from miles away. Once they identify a food source, they'll know that that's going to be there and they'll keep coming back and looking for it over and over again."

There are plenty of things you can do so bears aren't tempted to come onto your property. Keep your garbage inside until the morning of pickup. Use a birdbath instead of a feeder to attract birds. Clean the grill after each use to eliminate odors. Keep the bottom floor windows of your home closed, and talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.

In Colorado, wildlife officers use a two strike policy. The first time a bear is reported as a nuisance its tagged and taken to a remote locatIon. If it's reported again, it will have to be put down.

"It's never an easy decision," Walls says. "It's one our officers hate to make, which is why we really ask people to do their part so we don't have to step in and do that."

If you do come in contact with a bear, back away slowly. Do not run, and try not to show fear. Encourage it to leave the area by yelling or spraying it with water from a safe distance.



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