Black bears are coming back |

Black bears are coming back

summit daily staff report

SUMMIT COUNTY<As snow melts in the early spring, black bears begin to leave their winter dens. Until spring rains appear, nobody knows whether natural foods will be abundant. Last year1s late frost and dry spring created patches of natural crop failure that brought many black bears into communities in search of food.For the first few weeks following hibernation, black bears will drink lots of water, helping their digestive systems to adjust. Once they are ready to eat again, they become relentless in their search for food. Bears are generally shy and usually avoid humans, but their need for food and sense of smell often draw them to human residences, where they may find bird feeders, barbecue grills and trash.Many people do not realize, by simply altering their behavior, they can minimize the chance of unwanted close encounters with bears. Right now, before bears become active in the spring, is the best time to walk your property and remove any bear attractants from sight and smell.Some of the suggestions to 3bear-proof your yard might seem insignificant, but they can create behavior patterns in bears which often cannot be reversed. If there was bear activity in your neighborhood last year, you1ll need to be extra careful this year, as bears will return to the same locations where they have been successful finding food in the past.If a homeowner or business owner does not take action to remove the bear attractants (anything that smells like potential food), it is only a matter of time before the original bear will return or another bear is attracted to their property. If you have seen a bear regularly near your property, assess the situation by discovering what is attracting the bear and taking steps to remove the attractant.Remember: A fed bear is a dead bear. By making food available to a bear,even a single time, we train it to associate humans with food. Once a bear learns this association, it can become a nuisance and often must be killed. Colorado1s black bears receive an ear tag and markings following the first serious nuisance encounter. According to state policy, a second serious encounter, or 3second strike, means the bear will be killed.Help Colorado1s black bears share our habitat by keeping your property clear of bear attractants. In this situation, an ounce of prevention is truly worth 200 pounds of cure.

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