It’s that time of year when bears are preparing for winter hibernation.
During the late summer and early fall, a bear’s appetite switches into overdrive, a Breckenridge Police Department news release stated. They know they have just a few short months to layer on enough fat to survive their long winter’s nap.
Bears will travel over 60 miles in search of food, foraging nearly the entire time, as their calorie needs go from around 2,500 per day to more than 20,000.
The Breckenridge Police Department has noticed an increase during the past few years of bears coming to feed in local garbage cans, the release stated. This is unhealthy for the bears, problematic for the community and could result in a ticket for the homeowner.
Once bears know where to find a non-natural food source they will return again and again, according to the release. In order to keep bears in the woods, and out of local trash cans, the Breckenridge Police Department recommends:
• Keeping garbage secured inside until the morning of trash pickup
• Ensuring garbage cans left outside have a locking lid, which are available for purchase by contacting a local trash removal company
• Ensuring bird feeders and other sources of food are bear proof or not easily accessible
• Keeping grills clean of any food debris
• Feeding pets indoors
• Locking doors and windows to avoid a bear wandering inside
The town of Breckenridge has a trash ordinance to help reduce the number of public encounters with wildlife and to prevent animals like bears from wandering into town to forage for food. This ordinance addresses placement and use of garbage cans and similar receptacles, the release stated.
Garbage can only be placed on a curbside between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the same day as a scheduled pickup. Garbage must be placed in approved receptacles.
The lid of the container must be securely attached, leaving no gaps between the container and lid. All households are required to store garbage cans inside a home, garage, building or shed, unless their garbage can is equipped with a latching mechanism that will hold the lid securely to the can.
Residents with questions about bears or have encountered a bear are encouraged to call the Division of Wildlife at 725-6200 or Breckenridge Police Department at 668-8600.