Be Bear Aware - Car Break-in

By: Kris Hazelton

The bears are out and it’s time to take some precautions in and around our homes and our vehicles.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife tells us there have been several reports of a bear(s) getting into vehicles along Fall River Road the past two weeks.

One car in particular was parked in a driveway near Old Man Mountain and was completely totalled after a bear spent five to six hours (overnight) in the vehicle. The bear panicked trying to escape all night long and the entire interior was ruined and completely totaled out from the bear trying to claw and/or chew his way out. In the morning, they discovered the bear in the vehicle and they managed to open the door while the frightened bear ran away.

CPW recommends taking anything with a scent out of your car, such as food, soft drinks, makeup and other items. CPW also asks that you ensure your car is locked.The vehicle doors had been left unlocked overnight.

This is a good reminder for us all to always lock your vehicle (though some bears have even learned to open locked doors) and make sure that you don’t leave any food or food wrappers of any kind in your vehicle that might attract a bear. (not even empty latte cups!) All windows should be rolled up tight, with no open gaps so a bear cannot put his paw into the opening and shatter your window to gain entry.

Even non-food items you might have in your car such as chapstick, gum or gum wrappers, soaps, lotions and air fresheners can attract a bear.

It is extremely important to keep your car interior clean to prevent bear break-ins. Look under seats, vacuum, and make sure there are no leftover foods or food containers in your car.

This is also a good time to remind everyone that it is time to take down the birdfeeders. A meal of tasty, nutritious seeds — a natural food for bears — is often the first reward a bear gets for exploring human places. Letting your bird feeders turn into bear feeders teaches bears that it’s safe to come close to people and homes looking for food. For bears, that can end up being a deadly lesson. Colorado Parks and Wildlife recommends not feeding birds during the months when bears are active. Instead, use water features, plant­ings, nest boxes and flowers to attract birds. Use bird feeders only when bears are hibernating.

Let’s all get into the habit of being bear-responsible. It’s not that difficult, it may take a little extra effort, but saving the life of a bear is worth it. If you live or visit in bear country, please double check every evening that your car doors/windows are locked and completely closed.

Please do your part to prevent bears learning this behavior and help keep them wild!

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