The Bears are Back and Hungry! Be Bear Aware!
The high country bears are starting to awake from their winter hibernation . . . and they’re hungry!
For the first few weeks following hibernation, bears drink lots of water, helping their digestive system adjust. Once they are ready to eat again, they become relentless in their search for food. And as Leadville residents know all too well, bears are opportunists and will eat anything they find.
In the past few days, Leadville Today has received reports from residents in the outlying wooded developments about signs of bear activity. Turquoise Lake Estates resident Lesli Crenshaw shared a picture she took of a bear paw print on her family’s trash container. And it didn’t take long for other neighbors in the area located off County Road 4 (the road out to Turquoise Lake) to share their bear stories.
While most of the information has been more evidential in the form of paw prints and trash strewn about, no doubt there will be a bear sighting before long. Residents in the Turquoise Lake Estates area are asked to use caution and review the guidelines for minimizing bear/human encounters, including putting the trash out of reach.
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) reminds people that an ounce of prevention is worth 200 pounds of cure. Many people do not realize that a few simple precautions can minimize the chance of unwanted encounters with bears. Right now, is the best time to walk your property and remove any bear attractants from sight and smell. They recommend “bear-proofing” your property by removing items a bear might consider potential food sources such as bird feeders, pet food left outside or unsecured trash cans.
Remember, “A fed bear is a dead bear.” By making food available to a bear, people train it to associate humans with food. Once a bear learns this association, it can become dangerous and often must be killed.
Colorado has a “two strike” rule for dealing with problem bears. The first time a bear gets into trouble, it receives an ear tag marking it as a problem bear. Another serious encounter, or “second strike,” means the bear will be killed.
Here are some tips to prevent bears from becoming habituated to human food:
- Take down, clean and put away bird feeders. Bear damage to bird feeders is a common complaint. Once a bear has found a feeder in your yard, it will likely look around for other easy foods within reach.
- Keep garbage in airtight containers inside your garage or storage area. Clean trash cans with ammonia or bleach occasionally to reduce odors that attract bears.
- Consider a bear-proof dumpster – if not available, ask your trash-removal company for options.
- Place garbage for pickup outside just before collection and not the night before.
- Do not place meat or sweet-smelling food scraps such as melon rinds in a compost pile.
- Do not leave pet food or dishes outdoors at night.
- Clean up and store outdoor grills after use. Sticky barbecue sauce and grease can attract bears to your yard.
- Never intentionally feed bears to attract them to your yard for viewing. It’s illegal to feed bears in Colorado – in addition to being bad for the bear; you will be ticketed and fined.
Place Your Bets! It’s Casino Weekend in Lead Vegas
Sounds like the Leadville Elks Lodge will be the spot to try your luck in downtown Lead Vegas this weekend. Tonight, Friday, May 15 the Lake County School District will be hosting their annual appreciation/end of year party with a special Casino Night for teachers and staff.
Then on Saturday, May 16, the Leadville/Lake County Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Casino Night fundraiser. This Casino Night is open to the public, with games starting at 7 p.m. The evening will also include a silent and live auction, prizes, and raffles. For more information contact the chamber at 719-486-3901.