Black bears are coming out...of their winter dens and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are warning Colorado residents to take precautions to help keep bears wild. Because of dry conditions, bear activity in towns and residential areas may be high again this year.

The biggest issue in conflict situations is the availability of human sources of food -- garbage, pet food, livestock food, compost piles, bird feeders, chicken pens, etc. Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and can pick up odors of food sources from miles

Follow these tips to keep bears out of trouble and to reduce conflicts:

  1. Obtain a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. Keep garbage in a well-secured location; and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.
  2. Clean garbage cans regularly to eliminate food odors. If you don't have secure storage, put food scraps and items that might become smelly into the freezer. Then put them in the trash on pick-up day.
  3. Don't leave pet food or feeding bowls outside.
  4. Attract birds naturally to your yard or garden with flowers and water features. For those who use bird feeders, suspend them high above the ground so that they're inaccessible to bears; clean up beneath them every day and bring them in at night.
  5. Tightly secure any compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food.
  6. Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don't allow food odors to linger.
  7.  If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don't allow fruit to fall and rot on the ground.
  8. If you keep chickens or other small livestock, build a secure enclosure and bring the animals inside at night. Clean up pens regularly to reduce odor.
  9. Keep the bottom floor windows of your house and garage doors closed when you're not at home. Lock car door.
  10. Never intentionally feed bears or other wildlife. It's illegal and dangerous
  11. When backcountry camping, hang food high in trees; at campgrounds, lock food and trash in vehicles. .

For more information, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Website!

Here is a YouTube video that shows how a bear can break into a trash can: