Black bear activity increases in the fall in Colorado |

Black bear activity increases in the fall in Colorado

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy the Colorado backcountry in the autumn know that there is a good possibility to have a closer than expected run in with a black bear.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Autumn is when black bears become more active, setting the stage for an increase in bear sightings and possibly encounters.

The main reason for increased sightings, according to information provided by the DOW, is the ever increasing urban sprawl and less habitat for black bears.

2007 was a record year for bear/human incidents in the Roaring Fork Valley, due to an early spring frost that killed much of the bears natural food supply of nuts and berries in the high country. Contrasting a very quiet 2008 summer, the fall season could always lead to more incidents with bears entering hyperphagia, where a single bear consumes around 20,000 calories per day.

“This has been a very quiet year for bears. Which has been very nice, for both us and the bears,” said DOW spokesman Randy Hampton. “We have not seen the types of problems that we had last year and that has to do with the amount of available natural food source.”

The DOW reminds residents and visitors that bears are searching for food to prepare for the denning season, which begins in early to mid-November. Until then, bears will look for food wherever they can find it and the result may lead them closer to people or homes.

In an area like the Roaring Fork Valley, people don’t have to be on the trail to have an encounter with a bear.

According to the DOW, Colorado’s bears will usually avoid encounters with humans, but sometimes they do occur. Reducing the chance of attracting a bear is the best way to prevent an encounter. While hiking, making a lot of noise is often the best offense.

A statement from the DOW regarding bear activity said, human injuries caused by bears are rare in Colorado. In the few cases when people are injured, it usually involves food left where bears can find it, or is the result of a surprise encounter.

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