Bear activity in Colorado likely to increase as bears begin process to fatten up ahead of winter hibernation

Colorado Parks and Wildlife released its 2021 bear report. Summit County tallied over half of all human-bear interactions in its respective region last year.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife/Courtesy photo

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is warning Summit County residents that bear-human interactions are expected to increase over the coming weeks.

Hyperphagia is the increased feeding activity in bears that happens in the late summer and early fall before hibernation. In this stage, bears will spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat more than 20,000 calories to fatten up for winter. 

Significant portions of Colorado — including Summit County — experienced a late freeze in May, resulting in the loss of a majority of food sources above 7,000 feet in elevation. Because of this, coupled with the continued drought across Colorado, bears will be on the move looking for much-needed calories to survive through the year and prepare for the winter. This can include trash, bird seeds, barbecue grills and pet food, but a black bear’s natural diet consists of berries, fruits, nuts, plants and grasses.

Parks and Wildlife is encouraging residents to keep potential attractants in well-secured locations to help limit any interactions with bears.

For more information, visit

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.