Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) issued a news release this week about increased bear activity in its parks. The advice applies to anyone in “bear country” and that includes RVers in campgrounds. The number of bears in parks is expected to grow rapidly in coming days as bears are now in hyperphagia, the period when bruins are preparing for hibernation and spend up to 20 hours a day on the hunt for 20,000 or more daily calories.
“Most of the reports involve bears trying to access human food sources and as we enter this fall period of hyper bruin activity,” CPW reported, urging residents and others to remove attractants to reduce conflicts and keep you and the bears safe.
“As fall approaches, people can think of bears as basically a four-legged walking stomach,” said District Wildlife Manager (DWM) Joe Nicholson out of the Evergreen district. “They are biologically driven to pack on calories in preparation for winter and they spend increasing time looking for the most efficient way to do so. Residents must realize it is their responsibility to secure their trash, remove other food attractants such as bird feeders, and protect backyard livestock with appropriate electric fencing to avoid conflicts that arise from attracting bears to homes.”
Drought conditions and other factors that may influence the availability of natural food crops for bears varies across the state, as does the behavior of people when it relates to human-bear interactions. Those all play a role in the bear activity that we see annually.
TIPS TO KEEP BEARS AWAY
– Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside.
– Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts. 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.
– Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them, such as deer, turkeys or small mammals.
– Bears have good memories and will return to places they’ve found food.
– Allow grills to burn for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors. Clean the grill after each use.
– Clean up thoroughly after picnics. Don’t allow food odors to linger.
– Lock your doors when you’re away and at night.
– Keep windows closed when you’re not at home.
– 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, hang food 100 feet or more from campsite; don’t bring any food into your tent.
– Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.