Bear Cautions to Memorial Day Campers

I hope many of you are going to be out camping as you also remember the fallen this Memorial Day weekend. While you’re out remember to be safe and bear aware.

Department cautions campers to be aware of increased bear activity in the Jemez Mountains

nmdgf-logo-color_originalJEMEZ – Due to multiple sightings of bear cubs by campers in the area of Forest Road 376 in the Jemez Mountains, recreationists are reminded to keep a clean camp and be bear aware during the long weekend.

According to Tristanna Bickford, communications director, “some may view this as a unique opportunity to view young wildlife; however, it is very important for people to not attempt to approach these bears for any reason and to maintain a safe distance.”

Also read: Bear Adventures

The department strongly urges you to avoid getting between the mother and her cubs. Bickford continues, “Always be aware that the mother is likely in the area. Approaching wildlife is dangerous and getting into the personal space of any wild animal is a bad idea.” The department will have extra staff in the area to ensure safety of the public and wellbeing of the bears.

bear-cubs-5806_crop-NMDGFThe state has experienced less than average precipitation for this time of the year, which means that bears may be in search of other food sources, said Rick Winslow, cougar and bear biologist with the department.

“Droughts historically have led to a lot of bear conflicts, not only at camping and picnic sites, but also in more populated areas,” said Winslow.

Due to the recent increased bear activity, people should be even more diligent about keeping campsites clean and paying attention to their surroundings when visiting bear country.

The department offers the following suggestions if you plan on spending the long weekend camping in this area and other areas where bears may be present:

  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site, 100 yards is recommended.
  • Never feed bears.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

If you are experiencing a persistent problem with bears, please contact your regional Game & Fish office or contact your local law enforcement for immediate assistance. Visit the department’s website to find contact information: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us for more information about living with bears in New Mexico please consult Keeping Bears Alive and Yourself Safe.


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HUGE Number of Bear Incidents in Colorado

We’ve been discussing bears so much that we feel we need to come to a new topic on the MAC Outdoors podcast, but you’d be amazed at the number of bear incidents in Colorado this year. This is why we continue to address the topic. We’ve mentioned a few scenes, and the number of bears that have been put down, but when we assisted CPW at a women’s shooting event last week we were amazed to hear of much more.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to remind everyone that education is key. We all have to be aware of the part we play in wildlife incidents. We live in bear country. Although some of us hunt bears, we don’t want to see them destroying people’s homes, killing livestock, attacking campers, and more. We need to learn to reduce these events.

CPW reminds public: Education is key to help prevent dangerous bear encounters

CPW_SiteLogoDENVER – After several recent bear conflicts in Colorado, including close encounters, home invasions and an attack on a sleeping camper in Boulder County, July 9, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is stressing education as one of the most effective ways to prevent wildlife conflicts.

CPW officials say although many bear conflicts may seem unprovoked or random, a typical precursor in most incidents is a general lack of knowledge about wildlife, or a willful disregard for a few basic rules.

“Bears are just doing what comes naturally to them,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will of Glenwood Springs. “They are driven by hunger and instinct; and when their natural food sources become scarce like we’ve seen with the recent dry spell in some areas, they look for other sources. That brings them into communities where they easily find all kinds of things to eat. Humans, on the other hand, have a choice in how they behave. In my opinion, there are too many people who should be making better decisions when it comes to wildlife, beginning with getting educated about preventing conflicts then taking action.”

bear-in-trap-cpw-93cfadc2-3ade-4127-8b95-6308c3afc1dbWith the current bear population in the state conservatively estimated between 17,000 – 20,000 and the human population at about 5.5 million, wildlife officials say human/bear conflicts remain a primary concern. Despite years of information and education outreach, trash storage ordinances in communities with significant bear activity and efforts to reduce bear populations in high conflict areas, interactions continue to occur and make headlines.

In addition to the high-profile incident in Boulder County, a recent viral video featured a bear wandering inside a Colorado Springs home for five hours, casually opening the refrigerator and pantry while the homeowner slept inside, unaware of the bear’s presence. A week earlier, a woman shot video of the same bear through her car window after the bear entered the shocked woman’s garage and pressed its nose up to the vehicle’s glass. Wildlife managers believe the bear had learned the sound of a garage door opening was a cue to dart inside.

Due to concerns for human safety, wildlife officials killed the 375-pound bear several days later after discovering it sitting on the deck of a nearby home.

Another video widely disseminated last month showed a bear seemingly playing the piano after it entered a Vail condominium through an open window while the occupant was away. The video may have elicited chuckles but wildlife officers did not see the humor in the situation, considering the dangers posed by a bear with a habit of breaking into homes.

So what can you do to prevent a dangerous bear conflict? There are a multitude of tips and suggestions for homeowners and outdoor enthusiast available from many sources, but the primary message wildlife managers offer to the public – it’s all about food.

“It’s actually fairly simple – keep your food away from bears,” said Will. “We can’t stress it enough – never, ever feed a bear, whether by leaving your trash out, your lunch in your car, your birdfeeders up or giving it a handout – it’s all the same. Bears are smart and have great memories. If the bear gets into your trash, your car, or crawls through a window you left open and finds a meal, you just put your entire neighborhood in danger; if you’re on a hike and give a bear a handout to get a closer look, you just put all hikers in the area at risk; if you keep a dirty campsite or leave food in your tent or otherwise accessible and you attract a bear, you just jeopardized the safety of all nearby campers.”

Will says in addition to fines for violating city ordinances where they exist, feeding a bear is illegal in Colorado and can result in a citation from CPW officers.

Another important tip wildlife officers offer is never let a bear feel comfortable around people.

“If a bear comes into your yard and you sit on the porch and watch if for an hour, the bear has now learned it is safe to be around people,” said Will. “Then it becomes a problem for other residents, and for wildlife managers.”

If you see a bear in an area where it is not supposed to be, or it appears comfortable with your presence, wildlife officers recommend immediately making it feel unwelcome. Raise your voice and talk to it firmly, bang pots and pans or throw rocks or sticks toward it and try to drive it away. It may seem cruel but conditioning them to avoid people is the most humane thing the public can do for a bear.

However, if a bear does not respond to hazing or it continues to approach, the first thing to remember is never turn and run. Stand your ground, prepare to take stronger measures and defend yourself with everything you have. That can include using bear spray, punching and kicking the bear as aggressively as possible, hitting it with a sturdy hiking stick, branches, rocks or other makeshift weapons.

In the Boulder County incident, the teen fought the bear by aiming blows at its eyes.

“He did exactly the right thing, something he learned from his grandfather,” said Northeast Region Public Information Officer Jennifer Churchill. “He was prepared and knew how to handle an attack. The knowledge probably saved his life.”

Acting Northwest Regional Manager Dean Riggs says some in the public may consider using firearms to protect themselves in case of a dangerous wildlife encounter; however, CPW recommends bear spray as an effective alternative to a gun as the first means of defense.

“We understand people have the right to legally carry and use a firearm to defend themselves from a bear attack, but it’s not as effective as people think, and if you shoot your gun in a residential area or a crowded campsite you could accidently kill someone,” said Riggs. “Bear spray is actually a much more effective deterrent, proven in several field studies. It’s a good idea to have bear spray at home if you live in bear country, or bring it along if you recreate in an area with bear activity.”

CPW officials say black bears in Colorado do not often attack people, but they are capable of mauling and killing humans as seen in recent incidents in Alaska, including a woman with Colorado ties killed by a black bear last month.

“A black bear’s natural diet in Colorado typically consists of acorns and berries, and they will make a meal of carrion or newborn fawns and elk calves. Generally, they don’t hunt humans but it does not mean it couldn’t happen and you need to be prepared,” said Riggs. “The major concern is when a person surprises a bear, or if a person makes a bear feel threatened or cornered, it will likely respond forcefully. Their strength, powerful jaws and sharp claws make them a significant threat.”

Because of that threat, Riggs says when it comes to choosing between human health and safety and a dangerous wild animal, there are few options for wildlife officers.

“To protect people, wildlife officers will kill any bear showing aggression toward humans,” he said. “When people feed bears, they essentially sentence them to death but it’s our officers who have to carry out the execution. It’s by far the worst part of the job.”

CPW says the public can safely watch bears from a distance, with binoculars, a scope or a camera with a telephoto lens. At no time should people approach a bear to get a closer look, or offer it food to get a better picture.

For more information about living with bears and avoiding conflicts, visit the ‘Bear Aware‘ page on the agency’s website – cpw.state.co.us.


CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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A Wildlife Reminder: Time to be Bear Aware  

CPW_SiteLogoBears have emerged from hibernation and are on the prowl for food. Colorado Parks and Wildlife is sending its annual reminder, asking Colorado residents and visitors to be “Bear Aware.”

In early spring, bears can usually find sources of natural food as wild plants begin to grow nutritious new sprouts. Bears also prefer natural sources of food. But if food becomes scarce some bears will go to residential areas looking for a meal.

Significant bear/human conflicts usually don’t start until mid-summer. But now’s the time to start thinking about how you can be bear aware. By taking some simple precautions, you can avoid conflicts with bears at your home and in your neighborhood.

Bear-Aware-CPW-8a1acbc2-118e-4b91-b395-73aa1a478761
Bears are out and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is reminding everyone to be “bear aware.”

Here is a list that will help us to keep bears wild:

CLICK TO SHOP

Around the house 

  • 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. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.
  • Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available from your trash hauler or on Internet sites.
  • Bears have an excellent sense of smell, so try to prevent odors. If you don’t have secure storage, put items that might become smelly into the freezer until trash day.
  • 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.
  • Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don’t allow food odors to linger.
  • Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.
Minimize items that attract bears or other wildlife
  • Do not attract other wildlife by feeding them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to rot on the ground.
  • Secure compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food — and they’ll eat almost anything.
  • If you keep small livestock, keep animals in a fully covered enclosure, 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.
Be careful with vehicles and at campsites
  • 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 or fragrant items into your tent
  • Cook food well away from your tent; wash dishes thoroughly.

For more information go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife web site: cpw.state.co.us.CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


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Springtime Bear Awareness

Be bear aware when out and about this spring  

nmdgf-logo-color_originalSANTA FE – People and wildlife are getting outdoors more often now that spring has arrived, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is reminding everyone to be aware of the greater chance of encountering bears and other native wildlife.

Males and young, independent bears are emerging from hibernation this time of year and they will be out foraging and seeking territory of their own, said Rick Winslow, the department’s bear and cougar biologist. Sows with cubs will follow in May, while cubs born last winter that spent this winter with their mother soon will be setting out on their own as their mothers seek to breed again.

http://tunein.com/embed/player/p963773/?autoplay=true

After three years of good precipitation following a long-running drought, bears will be very busy breeding and producing offspring, Winslow said.

Residents of wildland-urban interface areas such as the foothills of Santa Fe and Albuquerque or rural portions of the state may have a greater chance of encountering bears.

People are encouraged to call the department and report a bear that exhibits aggressive behavior. Bears that appear to be moving through the country should be left alone and there is no need to report them. Last year, several individuals were injured during encounters with bears.   

The department offers the following suggestions if you visit or live in bear country:

 

CLICK TO SHOP

 

  • Never leave fruit from trees and bushes to rot on the ground as it is a powerful attractant to bears and other wildlife.
  • Remove bird feeders. Bears see them ashigh calorietreats, and often they will look for other food sources nearby.
  • Never put meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon in your compost pile.
  • Don’t leave pet food or food dishes outdoors at night.
  • Clean and store outdoor grills after use. Bears can smell sweet barbecue sauce and grease for miles.
  • Keep your camp clean, and store food and garbage properly at all times. Use bear-proof containers when available. If not, suspend food, toiletries, coolers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and 6 feet out from the tree trunk.
  • Keep your tent and sleeping bag free of all food smells. Store the clothes you wore while cooking or eating with your food.
  • Sleep a good distance from your cooking area or food storage site, 100 yards is recommended.
  • Never intentionally feed bears to attract them for viewing.

If you encounter a bear:

  • Make yourself appear large by holding out your jacket. If you have small children, pick them up so they don’t run.
  • Give the bear plenty of room to escape, so it doesn’t feel threatened or trapped. If a black bear attacks you, fight back using anything at your disposal, such as rocks, sticks, binoculars or even your bare hands. Aim for the bear’s nose and eyes.
  • If the bear has not seen you, stay calm and slowly move away, making noise so the bear knows you are there. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs.

For more information about living with bears in New Mexico please visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us and consult the publication “Living with Large Predators.”


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Make Yourself Bear Aware [Videos]

Colorado Parks and Wildlife introduces bear aware videos

CPW_SiteLogoDENVER – Colorado Parks and Wildlife announces the release of four bear aware videos to educate the public about how to deal with bears in Colorado.

As Colorado’s human population continues to grow, there are more people living and recreating in bear country. The potential for conflict will inevitably rise, but there are actions humans can take to mitigate bear break-ins, conflicts or run-ins on the trail.

CPW-Bear-Aware-4faa379c-3db8-439f-8818-ce55b38600fbBears have an extremely keen sense of smell and excellent memories. Once they have learned about a reliable source of food, they will often return. Once this occurs, it requires significant diligence on the part of people to keep these food-conditioned bears from coming back and creating conflicts.

“CPW is committed to teaching the public about bears on every channel available to us,” said Kristin Cannon, district wildlife manager for Boulder. “While we have many great wildlife-related videos on our website and YouTube channel, we felt we were overdue on showing the public how to live in or visit bear country. Hopefully these videos will help Colorado natives, newcomers and visitors learn the tools to providing a safe and bear-friendly community.”


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All of the new videos are available on CPW’s easy-to-remember bear Web page at: cpw.state.co.us/bears or they can be found on the CPW YouTube channel:

Bearproofing Your Home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thv_eYXs0XU

Solving Your Bear Problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftrY2UZTw6k

Camping & Hiking In Bear Country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIJecAN_yOw

What to Do if You See a Bear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB5AS6BRuY8

“We hope against hope that people will be mindful of how fortunate we are to live in a state with such diverse wildlife and that we can all work together through common sense decisions to protect these beautiful creatures for future generations,” said Larry Rogstad, area wildlife manager for Boulder/Broomfield/southern Weld counties. “Wildlife officers are generally called on to intervene at the end of a long process. The bottom line is that by living mindfully the public has the greatest opportunity to lower risk to wildlife as we share an ever smaller world.”

For more information on living with bears in Colorado, visit: www.cpw.state.co.us/bears

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CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily on license sales, state parks fees and registration fees to support its operations, including: 42 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas covering approximately 900,000 acres, management of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching, camping, motorized and non-motorized trails, boating and outdoor education. CPW’s work contributes approximately $6 billion in total economic impact annually throughout Colorado.


Advertisements on this site do not express or represent the opinion of MAC Outdoors or Mia Anstine.