Be Bear Aware

Garbage Kills Bears

Much of what we throw out smells like food to a hungry bear. Standard metal or plastic trash cans won’t keep bears out. Once bears learn where it’s easy to get at the garbage, they’ll come back again and again.
Never leave trash or recyclables out overnight.
Empty cans and boxes still smell like food. One study showed that simply putting trash out only on the morning of pick up cuts the chances of a bear visit from 70% to 2%.

Please help prevent bears from getting into trash by using bear-resistant bins or ensuring containers are properly secured every night. To further deter bears from accessing garbage, clean containers regularly with ammonia.

Teach Bears They’re Not Welcome

Most conflicts between people and bears can be traced to easy-to-get-at human food, garbage, pet food, bird seed or other attractants. When people allow bears to find food, a bear’s natural drive to eat can overcome its wariness of humans. Once bears know where to find food, they will come back – often, increasingly destructive – for more calories.

If a bear comes into your yard or close to your home, do yourself and the bear a big favor, and scare it away. A confident attitude plus loud noises like a firm yell (most bears fear human voices), clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn sends most bears running.

Black bears are curious, smart, very adaptable, and will eat just about anything with calories. Bears want to get the most energy they can with the least amount of effort. Every bear’s goal is to get fat enough to live through the winter.

Bears that get too comfortable around people can easily damage property, vehicles, and homes, and even become a threat to human safety. Habituated bears must often be destroyed. Do your part to bear-proof your home and property, and help keep bears alive and wild.

Bird Feeders Kill Bears

Studies show that a big meal of tasty, nutritious seeds — a natural food for bears — is often the first reward a bear gets for exploring human places. Letting your bird feeders turn into bear feeders teaches bears that it’s safe to come close to people and homes looking for food. For bears, that can end up being a deadly lesson.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) recommends not feeding birds during the months when bears are active.

Never store bird seed outside, under your deck, or in a garage or shed a bear could break into. A 50-pound bag of bird seed has over 87,000 calories—a reward for the bear that is well worth the effort of breaking in.

Help Keep Bears Wild

Get in the habit of being bear-responsible. It’s like recycling — at first it’s a little extra effort, but soon it becomes a better way to live. You can be proud you’re helping to make Colorado a better place for people and bears.
  • Don’t feed bears, and don’t put out food for other wildlife that attracts bears.
  • Be responsible about trash and bird feeders. 
  • Burn food off barbecue grills and clean after each use. 
  • Keep all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked, including home, garage and vehicle doors. 
  • Don’t leave food, trash, coolers, air fresheners or anything that smells in your vehicle. 
  • Pick fruit before it ripens and clean up fallen fruit. 
  • Talk to your neighbors about doing their part to be bear responsible. 
Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers extensive resources on living with bears.