Bears have been seen frequently in our area and are on the prowl for food. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is sending its annual reminder, asking Colorado residents and visitors to be “Bear Aware.”

In early spring, bears can usually find sources of natural food as wild plants begin to grow nutritious new sprouts. Bears also prefer natural sources of food. But if food becomes scarce some bears will go to residential areas looking for a meal.

Significant bear/human conflicts usually don’t start until mid-summer. But now’s the time to start thinking about how you can be bear aware. By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid conflicts with bears at your home and in your neighborhood.

Here is a list that will help us to keep bears wild:

Keep garbage in a well-secured location.

Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.

Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.

Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available from your trash hauler or on Internet sites.

Bears have an excellent sense of smell, so try to prevent odors. If you don't have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.

Keep garage doors closed.

Lock your doors when you’re away from home and at night.

Keep the bottom floor windows of your house closed and locked when you're not at home.

Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don't allow food odors to linger.

Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.

Minimize items that attract bears or other wildlife.

Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them, it’s illegal.

Don't leave pet food or stock feed outside.

Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts. Attract birds naturally with flowers and water baths. Do not hang bird feeders from April 15 to Nov. 15.

If you must have bird feeders: clean up beneath them every day, bring them in at night, and hang them high so that they're completely inaccessible to bears.

Bears have good memories and will return to places they’ve found food.

Allow grills to burn for a ten minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors. Clean the grill after each use.

If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don't allow fruit to rot on the ground.

Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food -- and they'll eat almost anything.

If you keep small livestock, keep animals in a fully covered enclosure, don’t store food outside, keep enclosures clean to minimize odors, consider electric fencing whenever possible.

If you have bee hives, install electric fencing where allowed.

Be careful with vehicles and at campsites do not keep food in your vehicle; roll up windows and lock the doors of your vehicles.

When car-camping, secure all food and coolers in a locked vehicle after you’ve eaten.

Keep a clean camp, whether you’re in a campground or in the back-country.

When camping in the back-country, use bear proof containers for any food or scented items.

Don’t bring any food or fragrant items into your tent

Cook food well away from your tent; wash dishes thoroughly.

For more information go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site:

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