Bears have already been spotted in 8 Colorado counties this year, including Boulder and Morrison, where bears have been getting into trash, Snowmass Village, where a bear broke into a vehicle, Delta, where bears have been attacking livestock, and Colorado Springs, where a bear went head to head with a dog.

Wildlife officials don’t know why the bears are leaving hibernation early this year, but are urging residents in Colorado to keep their trash locked up to discourage bears from coming into areas highly populated by humans.

Tips to prevent human/bear conflicts include:

  • Keep garbage in a well-secured enclosure.
  • Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup; bring empty cans back inside before dark.
  • Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available online or from your trash hauler.
  • Clean all garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.
  • Take down all bird feeders. Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts – 397 conflicts because of them in 2019 alone. Birds have naturally available food sources during the spring, summer and fall. Don’t let your bird feeder become a bear feeder.
  • Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside – never provide food sources for any wildlife.
  • Clean all BBQ grills.
  • Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • Don’t leave attractants such as snacks, food wrappers, gum, or even scented hand lotions in your car; and always lock vehicle doors.
  • Use bear boxes or bear-proof containers for food and scented items when camping.
  • Don’t leave food outside while camping. If bear boxes aren’t available, leave all food in the trunk of a locked vehicle as your last resort.
  • Review CPW’s Bearproofing Your Home Fact Sheet and conduct a home audit to be sure you are not attracting bears to your property.
  • Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.
Kaylee was raised (but not *technically* born) in Colorado. She graduated from Regis University with a bachelor of arts in English. During her time at Regis she worked as a teaching assistant in a freshman classroom setting and in the writing center helping students on a variety of topics. While there, she discovered Cura Personalis, or care for the entire person, leading to her love of feminism and desire for equal rights for all. Kaylee is the managing editor for AboutBoulder, OnDenver, and a key member of the OnMetro team, launching this platform in cities across the United States.