NewsCovering Colorado


Sightings up as bears prepare to hibernate

It's a yearly phase called "hyperphagia"
Posted at 9:24 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-02 00:51:25-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Even as hibernation season approaches, right now is the time experts warn bears are on the hunt more than ever.

"We saw it coming, so my wife had the cell phone out," Ron Foss said. He sent News 5 a video of a bear crawling on top of a tree stump, then knocking a bird bath off it in the front yard of his home near Colorado City.

The bear is no stranger to Foss's neighborhood near Colorado City.

"We knew where he was going, cause he's been there before," Foss said. "He makes the rounds almost every night."

Lately, the bear is helping himself to whatever he pleases.

"I left a golf club out on the steps, and went out the next morning and that thing was absolutely chewed to pieces," Foss said.

But the increase in sightings isn't just a rural problem.

"In the last two months, we've been averaging four plus calls a day, which is a lot," said Sarah Watson of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

In the past two days, two different cubs have had to be rescued in Colorado Springs, one in the heart of downtown.

"They bears are starting to enter hyperphagia phase," Watson said.

Hyperphagia comes with cooler temperatures as bears fatten up for hibernation.

"They're feeding for 20 hours a day, trying to consume 20,000 calories a day," she said.

For Springs residents west of I-25, this year's hyperphagia phase is the first one they're required to have bear proof trash cans.

"But everyone who lives east of I-25 needs to be aware, they're gonna be going trough trash cans, they're gonna be getting in bird feeders, she said.

Watson said this year's drought is pushing more bears out of the mountains and into cities looking for food, and some city bears opt not to hibernate, knowing they've always got food nearby.
And when you have the diet double that of an Olympic swimmer, you'll eat just about anything.

"If he can chew a golf club, he's hungry," Foss said.