According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife there have already been reports of bear activity in eight counties in Colorado already in 2020. Spring is here which means bears are going to be searching for food and Coloradans need to be bear aware.

Early in the season, you can expect bears to eat grass and various vegetables that are beginning to sprout. As you can expect Colorado black bears wildlife managers say bears should not be eating from any trash receptacles, bird feeders or other food sources provided by humans especially around homes.

Early bear reports have included getting into the trash at Steamboat Springs and Silver Plume, bears with livestock in Delta, a bear vs. dog encounter under a deck in Colorado Springs and others.

You can expect male bears out of hibernation first followed by females without cubs. Females, that gave birth over the winter months stay in hibernation dens until mid-to-late April.

Last year in total there were 5,369 human-bear incident reports with most of those involving trash. Obviously, Colorado Parks and Wildlife would love to see those numbers decrease this year.

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Here are more tips by Colorado Parks and Wildlife to prevent a human/bear conflict:

  • Keep garbage in a well-secured enclosure.
  • Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup; bring empty cans back inside before dark.
  • Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available online or from your trash hauler.
  • Clean all garbage cans regularly to keep them odor-free. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.
  • Takedown all bird feeders. Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts - 397 conflicts because of them in 2019 alone. Birds have naturally available food sources during the spring, summer, and fall. Don’t let your bird feeder become a bear feeder.
  • Don't leave pet food or stock feed outside – never provide food sources for any wildlife.
  • Clean all BBQ grills.
  • Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • Don’t leave attractants such as snacks, food wrappers, gum, or even scented hand lotions in your car; and always lock vehicle doors.
  • Use bear boxes or bear-proof containers for food and scented items when camping.
  • Don't leave food outside while camping. If bear boxes aren't available, leave all food in the trunk of a locked vehicle as your last resort.
  • Review CPW’s Bearproofing Your Home Fact Sheet and conduct a home audit to be sure you are not attracting bears to your property.
  • Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.