Be bear aware this spring |

Be bear aware this spring

As bears start waking from winter slumber, it’s time to clean up food sources that could attract them to residential neighborhoods, the Colorado Division of Wildlife says.

At first, bears seek a first meal of new plant growth and fresh grass, but once their digestive systems are moving, they become opportunistic feeders that will eagerly exploit any available nutrition, including wild and human-created food sources. A bear’s primary concern is finding food during summer – and trash makes a quicker calorie count than foraging.

In addition to residential garbage, pet food, bird seed and greasy barbecue grills are common bear attractants. Unsecured restaurant Dumpsters can also quickly become targets for bears. Once a bear becomes habituated to human food and loses its fear of people, it can present a risk to public safety. Bears that become a risk to human safety often have to be euthanized.

Though many bears are still hibernating, a few have been spotted around Crested Butte and Boulder. In the Aspen area, a number of bears are already out and about – as are the signs of careless human behavior, such as Dumpsters without locks.

A problem bear that can’t be hazed from a conflict area may be tranquilized, given an ear tag and relocated. If a tagged bear gets into trouble a second time, wildlife managers must remove it from the population. The two-strike policy only applies to nuisance bears, but any bear that behaves aggressively or presents a threat to public safety is put down immediately.

Learn more about living with bears at

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