Skipping hibernation, bears still awake in Colorado mountain town

Photo Credit: KenCanning (iStock).

Hibernation season is in full swing, but some bears are still very much awake in Colorado.

According to the Aspen Police Department, garbage cans need to be secured, even in the winter months, where bear activity is still being reported. The department recently shared a video of two black bears wandering around a snowy residence just earlier this month – an unusual time for bears sightings in the high elevation town that rests at nearly 8,000 feet.

Most bears hibernate in the winter months as natural food sources (grass, berries, fruits, nuts, plants, insects) start to dwindle. However, this is not always the case. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, bears may remain active all winter if they have a reliable source of food such as trash, pet food, or a bird feeder.

A recent report from dives into a study that suggests “that bears that eat junk food may hibernate less and possibly even age faster.” Based on a study of 30 female black bears in the Durango area, the results found that the more sugary and highly-processed foods that bears comsume, the less time they spend hibernating.

According to a report from Aspen Daily News, there have been more than 200 reports of black bears in Aspen since mid-October. Last week, a sow and two cubs were spotted wandering around Aspen’s West End.

Human-bear encounters from the past year include a camper being attacked, freezer break-ins for ice cream, theft of a pot dispensary dumpster, and a string of home break-ins. A 71-year-old man even punched an attacking bear in the face.

Editor’s Note: If you see a bear, do not run. Running can make a bear chase after you. Instead, keep your distance and slowly back away. Face towards the bear, but avoid making direct eye contact. If the bear charges, fight back by yelling and throwing rocks and sticks. 


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