Colorado Parks and Wildlife received 3,644 bear reports from April 1 through Aug. 31, down slightly from the 3,855 during the same timeframe the previous year.
However, that number is expected to grow rapidly as bears are now in hyperphagia, the period when bruins are preparing for hibernation and spend up to 20 hours a day on the hunt for 20,000 or more daily calories.
Most of the reports involve bears trying to access human food sources and as we enter this fall period of hyper bruin activity, CPW is calling on residents to remove attractants to reduce conflicts and keep you and the bears safe.
“As fall approaches, people can think of bears as basically a four-legged walking stomach,” Joe Nicholson, Evergreen district wildlife manager, said. “They are biologically driven to pack on calories in preparation for winter and they spend increasing time looking for the most efficient way to do so. Residents must realize it is their responsibility to secure their trash, remove other food attractants such as bird feeders, and protect backyard livestock with appropriate electric fencing to avoid conflicts that arise from attracting bears to homes.”
CPW promotes Bear Aware principles all year long, aiming to minimize interactions that put both humans and bears at risk. Being “Bear Aware” includes easy-to-execute behaviors such as securing trash cans and dumpsters, removing bird feeders, closing garages, cleaning and locking your car and house doors and calling CPW when bears become a nuisance.
Drought conditions and other factors that may influence the availability of natural food crops for bears varies across the state, as does the behavior of people when it relates to human-bear interactions.
Those all play a role in the bear activity that we see annually. Below is a localized perspective on current bear activity across the state.
Area 1 - Western Jefferson County, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Park Counties.
“Mast crops in most cases are in pretty good shape even with the drought.
“That said, you would think bear conflicts would be declining, but that is not the case.
“It shows humans are causing the main problems. The lack of securing trash, removing bird and hummingbird feeders continue to be the biggest problem.
“We do still have reports of people intentionally attracting bears. We recently saw a 400-plus pound bear killed by a car near Pine,” Mark Lamb Area 1 wildlife manager said.
Area 13 - Chaffee, Fremont and Lake Counties
“Things are picking up especially around Buena Vista, Salida and Cañon City,” Wildlife Manager Jim Aragon said.
“The bear activity now centers on fruit trees and garbage. We have a tremendous apple crop this year. We’re encouraging people to pick their apples and remove that attractant.
“We’ve seen a slight increase in bear activity in the last couple weeks. We really haven’t trapped and moved any.
“We’re trying to reduce attractants and not get hands-on with them. We’re hazing them. No pyrotechnics. We’re using rubber buckshot. It’s so dry. Grass is dry. There’s limited mast production.
“We do have some areas with good acorns. That’s helping alleviate the problem north of Cañon City. The same is true in the Cotopaxi/Howard area. That’s helping us,” Aragon said.