The weather is warming up, plants are growing, and wildlife are out looking for some grub.
Spring has sprung and humans and animals alike are headed outdoors. We are seeking a little sunshine and wildlife are on a mission to shake off winter with a feast. As the snow melts, grass and other food sources start to grow and animals emerge from hibernation, we are more and more likely to encounter wildlife, sometimes in our own backyards.
According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), moose, deer, and elk are on the move to grazing areas. The moose are especially active up in mountain communities. This is a tough time of year for these animals, as they are basically surviving on fat stores while waiting for snow to melt and greenery to spring up. The females are also carrying babies at this time, further putting stress on their systems. Once those babies hit the ground, it is also extremely imperative you don't approach wildlife, as mothers will very aggressively protect their young.
Because of these conditions, it is extremely important to keep your distance if you run into wildlife, for their health and safety.
"If they are constantly pressured by people, elk and deer burn off their fat stores quickly and become extremely susceptible to death by starvation, including their unborn fawns and calves," said the CPW on its Facebook page.
And don't forget about BEARS! They are waking up, and they are ravenous, to say the least. A simple bag of gummy bears spurred one Breckenridge black bear to break into and trash a car recently, so they are on high alert to anything they can get their paws on. They are also much more willing to approach homes and populated areas to get their food fix, especially if natural food sources are scarce, so be "Bear Aware" urges the CPW.
"As bears begin to emerge in Colorado, ensuring trash is properly stored, food and supplies are not left in cars, and taking down birdfeeders help keep bears from seeking easy food sources," the agency says. Check out the checklist of things to do to keep yourself and bears safe.
"We stress it every year, small behaviors by people can make a huge difference for bears," said Tom Davies, district wildlife manager in Summit County. "We need people to keep cars and garages locked, keep attractants out of reach and properly use and lock bear-proof trash cans. When you are living in bear country, you have a responsibility to follow ordinances and be conscientious. If you don't, you should expect that we will be issuing warnings and fines."
For more information about Living with Bears in Colorado, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/bears.
Have you had any wildlife encounters recently? Where do you like to hike in Colorado? Sound off in the comments.