Living with bears in Colorado can pose a number of problems. It’s important to know how to interact with them safely. Here are a few tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife for use at home and on the trails to help keep you safe and keep bears wild.
Tips for the trails
1. It’s important to never leave trash outside. Use bear-proof containers when available, or keep it locked up in your car.
2. Stay alert. Keep your eyes open for tracks, bear feces and shredded logs. If you see any of these, you’re in bear territory.
3. Keep your dog on a leash.
4. Invest in a can of bear spray, just in case.
5. Bears are attracted to just about any kind of odor. If you’re going camping, don’t bring anything smelly into your tent. Keep food, beverages, and other odorous items locked up in your car or a bear-proof container.
If you do encounter a bear on the trail …
6. Stay calm, stand still and make sure the bear isn’t cornered. Don’t try to climb a tree or run away. Wave your arms slowly overhead.
7. If the bear stands up, it’s probably just trying to identify you by getting a better look and smell.
8. If the bear doesn’t move, slowly back up downhill.
9. If the bear approaches, yell and throw small rocks in its direction.
10. If for some unlikely reason you’re attacked, don’t play dead — fight back.
Tips for your home
11. Don’t ever willingly feed the bears. This will habituate them to human contact and likely end in the bear’s euthanization.
12. Keep all your trash indoors until the morning of pickup or stored in a bear-proof garbage container.
13. Attract your winged friends with a bird-bath rather than a bird-feeder during bear season. If you absolutely have to have one, make sure that it’s at least 10 feet off of the ground.
14. Don’t leave any pet food outdoors.
15. Clean your grill thoroughly after each use.
16. Pick any fruits you grow before they ripen, and don’t leave them outdoors.
17. If a bear ends up coming near your home, blow a whistle, clap your hands, or yell to try and scare it off. Don’t ever approach it.
For more tips and information on bears and bear safety, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at cpw.state.co.us.
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