A juvenile bear was spotted in a cottonwood in Crested Butte South this summer.

We are Full swing into the summer season, which means it’s time for a few reminders on how to be bear aware. We got in touch with Colorado Parks and Wildlife Manager Brandon Diamond in recent weeks for the best tips to coexist with bears.

Diamond said that trash, bird feeders and pet food tend to be the biggest culprits in attracting bears in the Gunnison Valley.

We are always going to have bears moving through our communities, you know, sometimes directly through our communities, sometimes on the periphery of our communities, but there’s always a chance that a bear is going to be in our backyards, during the bear season, which typically extends from you know, it depends on the winter in the spring, but, you know, springtime through late fall, we have bear activity.

First, Diamond recommends first investing in a bear-proof trash can.

We’re always encouraging folks to look at bear proof infrastructure, as far as their trash goes. But if you look at that cost over the longevity of a trash container, you know, you definitely get your money’s worth. And, you know, there’s so many good options now, that just bears can’t defeat. And so, you know, if a bear can’t get into trash, it’s not getting that reward. And it’ll move on, you know, and that’s, that’s the idea.

Another reoccurring conflict between bears and humans stems from bird feeders.

You know, there is absolutely no reason to have bear conflicts, because we can’t manage our bird-feeders and so you know, Oh, as an example, people love to see hummingbirds. Most of the folks at CPW enjoy watching hummingbirds as well.  And, you know, there’s ways to bring hummingbirds to into your backyard without putting out bird feeders. And we always encourage people to use, you know, natural flower baskets instead, you know, doing something simple like that we all love flower baskets  And if you have good ones, the hummingbirds will be attracted to those as well. And, and that completely mitigates the risk of conflict with black bears, versus putting out a traditional hummingbird feeder.  So that’s just one example. You know, where you can, you can take a take an easy step to avoid those conflicts.

Diamond also reminded folks that relocating a bear is a last resort.

But I just I think it’s important to point out to our communities that CPW is not going to trap and relocate every bear that comes into our communities. And I think there’s a misperception out there that that is how things work. You know, trapping a bear is the absolute last case, resort in most instances. And so, if we show up, you know, don’t expect us to have a bear trap in tow, what we’ll have is more of an educational opportunity there and just be prepared for a good discussion.  And we’ll help you look over your property and try to try to find those ways to solve, attract and issues in the long term.

You can learn more about bear proofing your home, and tips for camping and hiking in bear country at cpw dot state dot co dot us.

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