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CPW reminds residents and visitors to be extra bear aware this time of year

Posted at 1:28 PM, Oct 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 15:28:54-04

COLORADO – Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding Colorado residents and visitors to be bear aware this time of year as bears are in a “feeding frenzy” as they prep for hibernation.

CPW says bears are entering hyperphagia, a phase involving an instinctual need to consume up to 20,000 calories a day in preparation for hibernation. This period is especially important for Coloradans and visitors to bearproof homes and cars when in bear country.

CPW said it often sees an increase in bear-human conflicts during hyperphagia. Bears are reportedly foraging for food in up to 20 hours a day, in comparison to the 2-4 hours during spring and summer.

This is because bears are building up their fat reserves in preparation for winter. CPW said bears’ food sources change during this phase, from insects, leaves, and plants to a higher a fat, carb diet of fruits and nuts.

“It’s important for people to remember that they need to keep bearproofing their homes and vehicles in the fall,” said Matt Yamashita, district wildlife manager with CPW. “The weather cooling down doesn’t mean that bear season is over; in fact, we always tell people to keep up the good habits you made spending time outdoors all summer. Keep your trash secure, don’t feed birds until well into the winter, and keep anything with a scent out of your cars. You actually help save bears by staying bear aware throughout the fall.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a number of resources for people to find the right methods of protecting your home and property while bears are most active, click here.

Here are some recommended steps to proper bearproofing:

Keep Bears Out

  • Close and lock all bear-accessible windows and doors when you leave the house, and at night before you go to bed.

  • Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including candy, gum, air fresheners,  food wrappers, lotions and lip balms.

  • Close and lock garage doors and windows at night and when you’re not home; garage doors should be down if you are home but not outside.

  • Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, bird seed, or other attractants stored in your garage.

  • Remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper-level decks and windows.

  • Replace exterior lever-style door handles with good quality round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.

    Get Rid of Attractants

    • 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.

    • Take time to clean your garbage cans to keep them odor-free; ammonia serves as both a cleaner and a bear deterrent

    • 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.

    • Only feed birds when bears are hibernating. If you want to feed birds when bears are active, bring in seed or liquid feeders at night or when you leave home, and regularly clean underneath them.

    • Thoroughly clean your grill after every use, ensuring grease and odors are burned off.

    • Pick fruit from fruit trees before it gets ripe, and do not allow fallen fruit to rot on the ground.

      Remind Bears They’re Not Welcome

      • If a bear comes close to your home, haze it away. Loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn should send 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. If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.