Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are asking residents to remove bear attractants to reduce potential conflicts and interactions as more bears enter hyperplasia.
Hyperplasia is a period where bears prepare for hibernation by hunting for food for up to 20 hours per day. In turn, they digest more than 20,000 calories per day, according to the department.
As more bears enter this period of mass eating, officials urge residents to remove attractants to avoid potential conflicts despite bear reports being down nearly 30% between April 1 and Oct. 1 of this year when compared to the same period in 2020, officials said.
"Bears 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," said Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf in a release. "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.
Although bear calls are down 29% this year when compared to 2020, some areas, including Area 10, have had more reports since the beginning of hyperplasia.
Between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30, in Area 10 which includes Steam Boat Springs; Jackson and Routt Counties, reports are up over 200% when compared to 2020, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
In fact, three bears were euthanized in the area last month alone and officials are unsure why the number of reports are skyrocketing.
"We don't know for certain yet whether that's due to rough, lack of natural food sources or other factors," Middledort said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging residents to Be Bear Aware to reduce risk to bears and humans. Officials say residents should:
- Secure trash cans and dumpsters
- Remove bird feeders
- Close garages and lock all car and house doors.
- Don't leave pet food or stock feed outside
- Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them
- Don't allow bears to become comfortable around your home. If you see one, yell at them, throw things at them, make noise to scare them off.
- Secure compost piles
- If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe and do not allow fruit to rot on the ground.
Additional information regarding resources and bears can be found, here.