Be Bear Aware This Spring and Summer
Because of dry conditions in some parts of the state, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are cautioning residents that bear activity in towns and residential areas may be high again this year. Human-bear conflicts are a fact of life in Colorado, but with some simple actions residents of bear country can help to significantly reduce those conflicts.
The biggest issue in conflict situations is the availability of human sources of food — garbage, pet food, livestock food, compost piles, bird feeders, chicken pens, etc. Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and can pick up odors of food sources from miles away.
“Bears receive a big calorie reward if they get into something like pet food, or bird seed or leftover pizza,” explained Patt Dorsey, southwest regional manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Once they get a taste they quickly become habituated to human food and conflicts start. When that happens, things usually don’t go well for the bear.”
Once black bears have discovered a food source they may defend it and can become dangerous. Those types of situations can be dangerous and it is undesirable to have wild, unpredictable animals in close proximity to people.
“Some bears can be relocated. But bears deemed dangerous must be destroyed. We put down problem bears because we have to, not because we want to,” Dorsey said.
From the Front Range to the mountains to the Western Slope, Colorado offers bears good natural habitat. Bears will go to the areas with the best food availability, and it’s best that they find their food in the wild. If food sources in town are limited, bears will likely spend more time in wild lands.
Colorado residents play a major role in keeping bears wild, explained Renzo DelPiccolo, area wildlife manager in Montrose.
“The public can help us by being conscientious and not leaving any types of food available to bears,” DelPiccolo said. “Without the public’s diligence in reducing human sources of food, we have limited success in avoiding and reducing conflicts.”
Please, follow these tips to keep bears out of trouble and to reduce conflicts:
- Obtain a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. Check with local authorities or your trash service to determine what types can be used where you live. Keep garbage in a well-secured location; and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.
- Clean garbage cans regularly to eliminate food odors. If you don’t have secure storage, put food scraps and items that might become smelly into the freezer. Then put them in the trash on pick-up day.
- Don’t leave pet food or feeding bowls outside.
- Attract birds naturally to your yard or garden with flowers and water features. For those who use bird feeders, suspend them high above the ground so that they’re inaccessible to bears; clean up beneath them every day and bring them in at night.
- Tightly secure any compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food.
Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don’t allow food odors to linger.
- If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to fall and rot on the ground.
If you keep chickens or other small livestock, build a secure enclosure and bring the animals inside at night. Clean up pens regularly to reduce odors.
- Keep the bottom floor windows of your house and garage doors closed when you’re not at home. Lock car doors.
Never intentionally feed bears or other wildlife. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- When backcountry camping, hang food high in trees; at campgrounds, lock food and trash in vehicles.
For more information, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website
I-70 Traffic Stops in Idaho Springs/Georgetown Areas Start Tonight
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will be stopping traffic and closing I-70 at Fall River Road and Georgetown Hill beginning tonight, for rock scaling and fence installation, weather permitting. Whenever rock work is taking place above the highway, CDOT must close the roadway to maintain safety through the area for the traveling public. From Sunday, April 28 through Thursday, May 2, there will be traffic stops of 20 minutes on eastbound and westbound I-70. On Sunday night, the stops will begin at 10 p.m. and last until 6 a.m. Monday. From Monday night through Thursday night, the stops will last from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. each evening. Stops will be completed by 6 a.m. Friday morning. All westbound traffic will be stopped west of Fall River Road, one mile west of Idaho Springs, at approximately mile marker (MM) 238. All eastbound traffic will be stopped at MM 237, one mile west of that location closer to Dumont.
In high school sports over the weekend:
In girls soccer:
Rangely fell to Grand Valley (0-11)
Moffat County defeated Rangely 7-0
Rangely split a double header with Hotchkiss winning 7-6 and falling 21-6