COLORADO SPRINGS — Bears are on the move in southern Colorado. Caught on camera, images show up on social media and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are responding to close calls with people.
The most recent response, just this week, was to the Golden Eagle Campground off Highway 115, southwest of Colorado Springs. “They told me that at about 1:30 in the morning they were ‘hearing noises,’" said Wildlife Officer Aaron Berscheid with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, “Like huffing and heavy footsteps.” He says evidence from the scene suggests the bear was likely young and acting out of curiosity more than aggression.
Others in the area reported seeing a bear in the area over the past few weeks. A trap has been set up so the bear can hopefully be moved to place where trouble with people is less likely.
The incident is part of a broader issue this time of year. Many bears are now active after the winter. Mother bears have cubs. They are cute to spot and extremely dangerous if you get too close. "Keep your distance. By distance I mean 100 yards or more,” said Berscheid, “We want to be sure we're not effecting the bears behavior. So, if you feel like your changing the behavior just by your presence, then you're probably too close."
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.