Bears are emerging from hibernation throughout Colorado.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding residents and visitors to be bear aware. Every spring bears awake from a long winter's nap looking for new plant growth and fresh grass to eat to help jump-start their digestive systems. Once they're up and running, they're looking to chow down. They're opportunistic feeders and will eat any available food supply, including garbage, pet food, and even birdseed. Home and restaurant table scraps are a favorite as well. Bears can easily become habituated to human food sources and will regularly cruise neighborhoods in search of food. They're hungry and can be aggressive.

CP&W reminds you of these tips if you live in bear country.

- Keep garbage in a secure building or a bear-resistant container.  If you don’t have a place to store garbage, ask the trash company for a bear-resistant container.

- Store smelly food scraps in the freezer until garbage pick-up day.

- Rinse out all cans and jars so that they are free of food and odors before putting them out for recycling or pick-up.

- Put out garbage cans only on the morning of pick-up. Do not set garbage containers the night before.

- Wash garbage cans regularly to eliminate food odors.

- Don’t leave pet food outside.

- Bird feeders are a major cause of wildlife conflicts. Besides bears, feeders may also attract small mammals, deer and mountain lions. Remeber, birds do not need to be fed during the spring and summer.

- Pick ripe fruit from trees and off the ground.

- Clean outdoor grills after each use; the smell of grease can attract bears.

- Close and lock the lower floor windows and doors of your home.

- Clean up thoroughly after outdoor parties and picnics.

- Don’t leave food in your car. Bears can open car doors, one way or another.

- When camping, store food and garbage inside a locked camper or secure vehicle. Keep your campsite clean.

- Bears are not naturally aggressive and prefer to avoid contact. However, if you see a bear in your neighborhood make it feel unwelcome: yell or throw sticks and rocks at it. But never approach a bear.

To report a rouge aggressive bear, contact your local Colorado Division of Wildlife office, or local law enforcement.

Credit: Realtree

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