At the conclusion of last week's Crawford Town Board meeting, trustee Mike Tiedeman reminded everyone, "Bears are around. Keep that trash picked up!"
That cautionary message is being delivered around the state. 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. 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 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 web site: cpw.state.co.us.
Calling all volunteers! Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail has received six new tipis that will be used as outdoor classrooms in conjunction with the Nature Connection. John Hardy has volunteered to lead a group of folks who are willing to learn how to set up the tipis and pitch in where necessary.