Bears are on the move throughout Colorado and are entering a stage known as "hyperphagia" -- which means they are eating continually to put on the fat stores they need to get them through their winter hibernation.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers a reminder that by taking some simple precautions, you can avoid human/wildlife conflicts and help to keep bears wild.
Here are helpful tips to prevent conflicts:
• Keep garbage in a well-secured location.
• Only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.
• Clean garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free.
• Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster, available from your trash hauler or on the internet.
• If you don't have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.
• Don't leave pet food or stock feed outside.
• Bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts. Attract birds naturally with flowers and water baths. Do not hang bird feeders from April 15 to Nov. 15.
• If you must have bird feeders: clean up beneath them every day, bring them in at night, and hang them high so that they're completely inaccessible to bears.
• Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them, such as deer, turkeys or small mammals.
• Don't allow bears to become comfortable around your house. If you see one, yell at them, throw things at them, make noise to scare them off.
• Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food --and they'll eat anything.
• Bears have good memories and will return to places they've found food.
• Allow grills to burn for a couple of minutes after cooking to burn off grease and to eliminate odors. Clean the grill after each use.
• Clean up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don't allow food odors to linger.
• If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don't allow fruit to rot on the ground.
• Keep garage doors closed.
• Lock your doors when you're away from home and at night.
• Keep the bottom floor windows of your house closed when you're not at home.
• Do not keep food in your vehicle; roll up windows and lock the doors of your vehicles.
• When car camping, secure all food and coolers in a locked vehicle after you've eaten.
• Keep a clean camp, whether you're in a campground or in the back-country.
• When camping in the back-country, hang food 100 feet or more from campsite; don't bring any food into your tent.
• Cook food well away from your tent; wash dishes thoroughly.
• Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.
• If you keep small livestock, keep animals in a fully covered enclosure that is electrified. Don't store food outside, keep enclosures clean to minimize odors, hang rags soaked in ammonia and/or Pine-Sol around the enclosure.
• If you have bee hives, install electric fencing where allowed.
• For more information go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, cpw.state.co.us.