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Colorado bear activity increases as fall approaches

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Posted at 5:07 PM, Sep 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-08 20:17:10-04

DENVER – Hikers on the Enchanted Forest Trail near Golden last month got a taste of the raw, unpredictable nature of Colorado’s high country when a bear and her two cubs appeared along the trail.

The two hikers tried to scare them away. They blew whistles, ran behind a tree and even used bear spray, but the animals weren’t budging. Then suddenly, the bears began charging toward the pair. 

The hikers got away without injury, but the bears didn’t escape so easily. The sow and her two cubs were put down after wildlife officials caught up them days later. Colorado Parks and Wildlife services say the animals’ aggressive behavior sealed their fates as public safety is the primary goal of the agency.

The August 25 incident in the foothills near Golden highlights an active year for human-bear conflicts, and it may be coming to a head as fall approaches.

This time of year, Colorado black bears are seeking out food to last them through hibernation. The animals need 20,000 calories a day to gain enough fat to survive the winter.

The frenzy to fulfill those hefty calorie needs will sometimes drive bears out of the wild and into populated areas in search of an easier meal.

State wildlife officials want the public to be aware of the potential for increased bear activity and the need for the animals to retain a natural and healthy fear of humans. Conflicts tend to rise once that barrier is removed.

CPW Northeast Regional Manager Mark Leslie said residents living near active bear populations should do their part to help maintain a peaceful coexistence.

“CPW continues to ask the public to help us by not letting bears hang out in their yards, bear-proofing trash and removing attractants, and scaring bears off,” Leslie said.