Black bears have an extraordinary sense of smell and can be attracted to many things in residential communities. Having bears around increases both the risk of damage to property and the odds of something unfortunate happening, to both residents and bears. Residents can take simple, proactive measures in keeping themselves, their neighbors, their property and bears safe.
QUICK BEAR SMART TIPS
• Use a bear-resistant trash container or keep trash in a secure structure like a garage or shed. Bear-resistant trash containers help in avoiding property damage as they can be left outside of structures.
• Set your trash container out only on the morning of collection, never the night before.
• Occasionally clean your trash container with a disinfectant to remove odors.
• Remove bird feeders from April 1 thru November. It’s very hard feeding birds without feeding bears. At the very least, make bird feeders inaccessible to bears and clean up fallen seed. Hanging flower baskets work great in attracting hummingbirds, not bears.
• Keep all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked, including garage doors. Consider replacing exterior lever-style door handles with round door knobs. Bears learn to open lever-style handled doors.
• Never leave food, beverages, pet food or trash in vehicles. Keep vehicle doors and windows closed and locked.
• Remove fruit from the tree before it ripens. Remove fallen fruit to discourage bears from lingering in yards. Use fruitglean.org for any unused fruit or for locating excess fruit.
• Feed pets indoors.
• Think green when composting!
• Clean barbecue grills after each use. Most important is emptying grease traps.
• Store livestock feed and grain, bird seed and pet food in a bear-resistant container or secure structure. 55-gallon steel drums with locking lids work well for feed and avoid property damage.
• Rural residents can use electric fencing to protect chickens and livestock, beehives, compost, fruit trees, gardens and more.
• Do not allow bears to become accustomed to hanging around your property. Stay safe, but do your best to run bears off by yelling, banging pots and pans or blowing an air horn. Never approach or corner a bear.
• Talk to your children about bears and have a plan in place with them for a bear encounter.
• If a bear gets into your home, make sure it has a way out. A bear will usually exit the same way it came in, but give the bear other exits and space by opening other doors or low windows. Call Colorado Parks and Wildlife immediately at 247-0855 – or 911 after hours, emergencies only.
• To deter bears from entering homes including vacation or second homes or to discourage a specific bear from a repeat offense, consider the use of unwelcome mats or electric fencing designed for home use.
• Use bear deterrents to discourage bears from your property, especially when you are away for extended periods.
• Immediately make Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 247-0855 aware of aggressive or potentially dangerous bears. Call 911 after hours or for emergencies. Emergencies only!
• Be aware that water features attract bears.
• Bears are attracted to petroleum-based products including gas, paint and more. Please secure as any other attractant.
• Let new neighbors, especially new homebuyers, know about bear issues. Encourage your neighbors to follow Bear Smart practices as well. HOA’s can greatly reduce human and bear conflict on their own by taking proactive measures. Establish bylaws relating to attractants and consider a neighborhood phone or email tree, or social media to notify residents about bear activity and the need to remove attractants. New Homebuyers Guide.
• Promptly report incidents of bears getting into trash to Central Dispatch at 385-2900.
• Wipe down hot tub covers with ammonia on occasion. Bears are attracted the insulation found in hot tub covers – made with formaldehyde that gives off formic acid (also found in ant colonies, a favorite food of bears).
NOTE: If a bear is displaying aggressive behavior or presenting a threat to public safety or property, call Colorado Parks and Wildlife immediately at 247-0855, or call 911 – after hours and emergencies only.