Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Gunnison Field Office has been receiving numerous calls about bears. If you see a bear, it is not necessary to call Parks and Wildlife.
What the public must do is take responsibility for their actions by doing the following, now!
Everyone, even if you live in a rural area or subdivision, you must take down your birdfeeders, both seed and hummingbird feeders. The birds do not need to be fed. These feeders attract bears and other wildlife.
Do not feed dogs and cats outside. If you don’t want to feed dogs or cats indoors, then put the food out in a barn, and pick it up after one half hour whether the dog or cat has eaten or not. It will quickly learn when feeding time is, and learn to eat when the food is put in front of it.
If you feed grains to livestock, feed only what they will clean up immediately at a feeding. If you use the large, black rubber feed containers, or any other feeding container, pick it up when the animal is done and either wash it or put it away in a closed building until it is needed again.
Restrain, (I know it’s hard) from barbecuing and any kind of outdoor cooking. If you must, then take apart the grill when finished and scrub it down to remove all food smells.
Do not leave trash out — keep it in a closed garage or building/barn that a bear and other wildlife cannot get into. Keep your garage door closed. Keep barn doors closed. Clean up your yards of candy wrappers — the kids cannot even leave out a popsicle stick!
If you have livestock of sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, the only way to protect them from predators is to put them in a building at night, or have livestock protection dogs at work. Tell them “bedtime” or any other clue word and herd them into the enclosure, or entice them with feed. They will quickly learn. Do this about the same time every night. Yes, geese, goats, etc. will learn what “bedtime” means when it’s almost dark out, and they will walk into a pen for the night!
If you live anywhere near an orchard, you need to take precautions against bears this time of year until they go into hibernation in November and December. Bears eat the fallen fruit, and will climb the trees to get at it, including crabapples!
If a bear comes around-scare it away! Turn on the lights, blast a horn, suddenly raise the garage door with a remote opener if you have one. Bang pots and pans together, honk the car horn, suddenly blast a radio. Outside lights can be put on motion sensors, so can water sprinklers. Electric fencing will also work around chicken coops, bee hives, rabbit hutches. Rubber bullets can be used on the bear, set off a firecracker.
Don’t let the bear wander around and look at everything you have to offer it for entertainment and food. Close your ground floor windows if there is a bear around. It’s okay to put bars across downstairs windows if you live in an area where bears are constantly around. Be proactive!
Don’t plant berries of any kind if you live in an area where there are bears. The same goes for fruit trees, unless you can adequately fence them off. A bear can get over or under the eight-ft. game fencing or field fence.
This time of year, bears are eating everything they can in order to bulk up their fat stores for winter. A fed bear is a dead bear! Bears in Colorado now only get one strike — a tag in the ear. The next time someone complains about that bear it will be shot and killed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel, or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trappers/hunters. And, sometimes, they are shot the first time. The carcass will sit on your property until someone can be found to remove it. It is not the government’s responsibility to constantly deal with bear issues that are mostly caused by humans. There’s not enough man power or funding to deal with this.