Be "Bear Aware" Before Hibernation Season
If you've lived in Colorado long enough, chances are you've been privy to news reports of bears stirring up a bit of trouble. From sightings in residential areas to disrupted campgrounds or even a few car break-ins, Colorado's bear population often reminds us that we're in their territory. With hibernation season coming up, the weeks in late October and early November are the prime times for bears to store as much fat as possible before their long sleep. With scarce food sources due to the summer fires devastating their familiar feeding grounds, bears are more willing to act on their hunger pangs and follow their nose to a food source -- even if it's in your own backyard.
Black bears, the only species of bear in Colorado, subsist mainly on vegetation but will eat insects or animal carcasses if food sources are scarce. When presented with food sources out in the open prior to hibernation, they'll feast on anything they can get their paws on such as:
- Food remnants in trash cans or barbecue grills
- Pet food
- Livestock feed
- Compost piles
- Fallen fruit
Colorado Parks and Wildlife put together a helpful video to show homeowners how to best avoid encouraging bear activity on their property.
For you fall campers out there, you need to be more cognizant of food storage during this time or you run the risk of Yogi trashing your campsite. Lock food in your car or store it high and far from your campsite and never leave food in a tent. If a campground has bear-proof trashcans, use them. Be sure to also keep a safe distance from a bear if you see one, and remember that it's illegal to feed them.