Janice Kurbjun
Summit Daily News

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March 16, 2012
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Bears may awake early this season in Summit County

With the warm weather wafting through Summit County in mid-March, sleeping bears may awake early this season.

"They really could wake up any day with this warm weather," Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife wildlife manager Shannon Schwab said. "The thing to remember is that when they wake up and there is not natural food for them, they will gravitate toward human food sources."

She advised residents to take a look at their bear resistant dumpsters to ensure latches are working and can fully close to make them truly bear resistant. She further recommended that neighborhoods without such dumpsters should insist on getting one.

Putting garbage out the morning of pick up also helps, as does storing bird feeders at night and keeping other attractants away from houses and cars.

Fellow Summit County wildlife manager Sean Shepherd said it's typical for bears to wake up periodically during the winter, including activity in March. Calls from concerned residents have an uptick during spring break, and it's often in Keystone where bears are spotted.

He wasn't sure the warmer weather would cause bears to be more active than usual, because they typically den on northfacing slopes with more shade and snowpack.

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The Summit Daily Updated Mar 16, 2012 01:29PM Published Mar 16, 2012 01:28PM Copyright 2012 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.