Here’s why wildlife officials say not to leave out your pumpkins

Leaving out pumpkins can have unintended consequences, like attracting bears and mountain lions. Also, it's illegal.

Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
Pumpkin Fest returned to Silverthorne Sunday, Oct. 9.
Shane Morris/Town of Silverthorne

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding people to properly dispose of their pumpkins after Halloween and to not leave them out for wildlife.

Not only is it illegal to intentionally feed wildlife in Colorado, leaving out pumpkins can lead to unintended consequences – like attracting bears and mountain lions, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said Friday in a news release.

Deer feeding in pumpkins can attract predators to residential areas. Also, pumpkins can draw bears looking to pile on calories before hibernation, leading to unnecessary conflicts with humans.

Feeding wildlife can also make animals unafraid of humans and cause them to congregate, which can lead to the spread of disease.

“As far as in-town pumpkins go, bears are still around and haven’t gone to bed yet,” said Steve McClung, Colorado Parks and Wildlife assistant area wildlife manager. “Other animals such as racoons that may carry distemper or other diseases could also get into those pumpkins, and you don’t want potentially sick animals hanging around your home, especially if you have pets.”


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.