Rising Bear Encounters Prompt New Warnings


Bears are using the next few weeks to eat as many calories as possible before hibernation. That leads to more bear encounters in residential areas during the fall months. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says residents can reduce the risk of attracting bears by being cautious about how they dispose of trash and being aware of food sources that attract bears. This story is sponsored by The Man Cave Barber and The Payroll Department

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As bear sightings rise, wildlife officials are reminding residents to be bear aware. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Man Cave Barbers and The Payroll Department. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Whether on doorbell cameras or under decks, more bear sightings are being reported in Colorado this season. Officials say bears are under a time crunch over the next few weeks to eat as much as possible.

So we're starting to get to the end of the summer season when bears are kind of really out looking for food. It's really the end of the hyperphagia season which is that internal clock around September, the bears start saying, "Hey, it's time to pack on the pounds. Get ready for winter denning." So they can live off those fat reserves throughout the winter when the available food forage isn't as good in the high country.

John Livingston with the Southwest Division of Colorado Parks and Wildlife says it's actually been a pretty tame year for bear interactions. Monsoon rains helped ensure the bear's natural food supply was available, which kept most of them out of residential areas. But that didn't help Gina Lahet.

And I hear my roommate Emily come out and she's like, "Oh, they're quiet down, whatever." And then a few seconds later she bursts into my room like almost in tears and she goes, "Oh my God, something just growled at me under the deck. I think it's a bear."

A 400 pound mature bear according to experts who inspected the animal.

And we see how massive this thing is 'cause both of my roommates, they've worked out in the Glade as wilderness camp counselors. So, they've been out there, they've seen bears, I've seen bears. None of us had ever seen anything of this size.

This bear was likely feasting on apples that had fallen off the backyard tree and officials were worried about it hibernating under the deck. Livingston says keeping a beast like that out of your yard requires a little bit of diligence.

He was way back in here and there's kind of a hole you can see that he was kind of going into. And then we dropped the camera down on that side and he was facing out. And then when they went to drag him out, they went this way and attached some things to his arms so they could get him out of under the deck. And from there they put him on kind of like a tarp for his belly, and then were able to grab either of those sides and then bring him the rest of the way out.

If you spot a bear on your property you should call wildlife officials immediately. The sooner you notify CPW, the better the chances are that the bear won't have to be trapped.

So the lids need to be completely tight and secured. If you've got the kind of trash can that's got the clips on the top, you need to make sure those clips, both of 'em are attached and secured so that we keep bears out of that trash food source that they do come into town for. As well as picking up fallen fruit. We still got a ton of apples. It was a great monsoon year. It's led to a lot of great fruit in town, but if you've got fruit trees and you've got fallen fruit, you want to go ahead and pick that up so the bears aren't coming into your yard and and looking for those food sources. You don't want a bear to feel comfortable around your home looking for food, so you want to do whatever you can to remove those kind of attractants.

But sometimes, moving a bear can't be avoided. This one was lucky to be a first time offender, which earns it a tag so CPW can keep a watchful eye on its activity.

He's 60 miles away in a place where apparently there's a lot of happy bears out there. And we're just grateful that nothing happened to the dogs, nothing happened to us, nothing happened to anyone else.

Livingston says even more positive outcomes are possible if residents stay mindful about keeping food sources like trash, bird seed, and fruit and vegetable plants away from such resourceful animals. Thanks for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.


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