Black Bears in Colorado Springs have come out of hibernation, what do we do?

Spring is upon us and the bears are coming out of hibernation. Which means it is time for Colorado Springs residents to take action so we can minimize conflicts which sometimes, unfortunately, forces Colorado Parks and Wildlife's District wildlife managers to euthanize bears. It is such a terrible situation when we lose a bear like this, especially when it could have been avoidable. It is up to us as a community to ensure we are helping not hurting the Black Bears in our neighborhoods. Below is a guide to help get you and your home bear ready.

what to do if you encounter a bear | RE/MAX Colorado Springs

What you need to know

In general Black Bears in Colorado are harmless. A true wild Black Bear in Colorado is very wary of people and other unfamiliar things. Their normal reaction to any perceived danger is to run away. The problem arises when these bears become habituated to humans. 

Black Bear's natural diet is primarily vegetation in the wild which consist of grasses, seeds, nuts, berries, fruits, and plants. About 10% of their diet consists of insects and carcasses. With a heighten sense of smell, more than 100 times more sensitive than a human's, Black Bears can smell food 5 miles away! With a sense a smell like that they unknowingly are attracted to human food sources such as trash, pet food, bird feeders and from personal experience, those homemade baked goods baking in the oven during fall.

Did you know Black Bears need to consume 20,000 calories a day during late summer and fall to prepare for hibernation! Having to consume that much food it's no wonder they are seeking out the most accessible food sources. Bears that have discovered food around homes, communities and campgrounds often lose their natural wariness of people. They are very smart and have great memories so they will keep coming back. Despite the fact that Black Bears are not naturally aggressive and rarely attack or injure a human, they are still strong and powerful wild life especially if you get in there way of their meal.

Top things we can do to prevent conflicts with bears

The number one thing you can do to prevent a bear encounter is to bear-proof your home. See CPW's Bearproofing Your Home Flyer. Here are the top things you can do to bear-proof your home:

  1. The absolutely number one thing you can do to prevent a bear coming onto your property is to keep your trash inside or in an enclosure (shed, house, garage or build an enclosure in your backyard so the bear can not get to your trash)
  2. Remove bird feeders, burn off any meat remnants left over on your grill, and keep any pet food inside so bears can not even smell it.
  3. Pick up any fruit from fruit trees and make sure to mend your compost thoroughly (so all food is mixed in with dirt etc.) or keep composts enclosed. For more information visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife's website

What to do if you encounter a bear | RE/MAX Colorado Springs

Photo by Colorado Parks and Wildlife

What do you do if you see a bear? 

If you see a bear in the wild Stay Calm, it is a pretty special thing. Do not turn and run, this could cause the bear to chase you. Bears are pretty elusive and will spook easily if you encounter them deep in the woods. If they do not, make as much noise as possible and make sure the bear has an escape route. Bears that intentionally approach people may be looking for handouts and could potentially be habituated to humans and could potentially become aggressive. This is unlikely, however, it happens. If you are approached by a bear, do not run. Fight back as aggressively as possible to let that bear you will not be worth its effort. 

 We more often see bears in our own neighborhoods. Especially close to the mountains in Colorado Springs. We want bears to maintain their natural fear of people. One way to do this is to not let them feel comfortable near your house or in your community. 

Become a Bear Aware Volunteer

Human behaviors, such as the storage of garbage and other food attractants can affect bear behavior and ultimately whether or not an individual bear may be more inclined to attack a human. Colorado Parks and Wildlife started a Bear Aware Volunteer program where volunteers throughout the state of Colorado help their neighbors and communities become aware of how their actions can directly affect wildlife where they live. To become a Bear Aware Volunteer visit here. 

For more information check out Colorado Parks & Wildlife Human-Bear conflicts ~ Take the Keep Bears Wild Pledge

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Posted by Brooke Falcone on


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