Posts Tagged ‘living with Wildlife’


September 29, 2011

Related to the previous post here is some very good information for those that are living or passing through areas where wildlife are abundant.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – For Colorado residents, September’s shorter days and cool, crisp mornings signal that it’s time to wrap up summer projects and prepare for winter weather. For black bears, the arrival of fall is more like a warning: “Time to eat as much as possible – if you want to live.”

With bears now entering their binge-eating season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers are urging residents and visitors to take special care to secure trash, birdseed and other easy sources of food. Bears that learn to find meals around homes and businesses often become problem bears that end up being destroyed, wildlife managers say.

“It’s just amazing how much one bear needs to eat,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. “And that’s the only thing bears care about right now – eating nearly everything in sight.”

Black bears don’t technically hibernate – it’s more like a long sleep. However, the result is the same – Colorado bears need to pack on enough fat to survive four or five months without a meal, so during late summer and fall, bears enter a condition called “hyperphagia,” which compels them to eat for as much as 20 hours a day.

During hyperphagia, a bear may increase its intake of food from 8,000 calories to 20,000 calories per day. That’s about the number of calories found in 70 McDonald’s cheeseburgers. While Colorado bears have evolved to survive on a diet of berries, acorns and the occasional prey item, they will readily take advantage of an easy meal consisting of trash or poorly stored food. Every year, the combination of hungry bears and careless humans creates conflicts that Colorado’s wildlife managers are charged with sorting out.

The typical consequences of poor food and trash storage are a garbage-strewn lawn or a camping trip cut short. In some cases, it can even lead to a damaged kitchen. However, for bears, the consequences are often fatal. Because a wildlife manager’s priority is human safety, problem bears are tranquilized and relocated only once. The second time they get in trouble, they are destroyed. So are bears that enter homes or show aggression toward people just once.

“It’s unfortunate, but some bears are killed simply because people can’t be bothered to secure their food or trash,” said Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke. “Public safety has to be our first priority, but I can tell you that putting a bear down because of someone’s thoughtlessness is one of the worst parts of my job.”

The problem is compounded by a bear’s natural intelligence and excellent memory. Once a bear learns how to get an easy meal, they will apply that knowledge again and again in the following years. Sows can teach their cubs the same behavior, creating a cycle that can bring them into a conflict with people.

Although wildlife managers have the option to relocate a nuisance bear, it is an option that is becoming increasingly difficult as development continues to encroach on bear habitat. In addition, it is not uncommon for relocated bears to return in search of the easy meals that got them into trouble in the first place, or resume their bad habits in their new habitat.

Although bears do not typically attack humans, they are large, powerful animals and their determination to eat makes them dangerous when they learn human items and places are a source of food. This summer saw several high-profile incidents involving bears that entered tents in search of food and injured the occupants.

“These bears were likely rewarded in the past and learned that people and tents mean an easy meal,” said Area Wildlife Manger Perry Will. “We do have concerns about some bears, but overall, we have quite a few more concerns about people who don’t follow the rules.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is one of several government agencies that conduct ongoing public education campaigns on living with bears. The agency provides extensive information through their website, pamphlets, media stories and even magazines and books. In addition, they also dispatch volunteer “Bear Aware” teams to go door-to-door in problem areas.

“It’s frustrating because this information is so easy to find,” Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “There really is no excuse in the majority of cases.”

According to Kevin Wright, the District Wildlife Manager in Aspen, what’s especially disheartening for wildlife managers is how quickly people who live in bear country forget about their responsibility to help prevent problem bears.

“Considering the consequences, you’d think folks would learn the first time a bear gets into their trash, or their home,” he continued. “These should be habits that people practice year round. But for too many people, we have to remind them again and again.”

Complicating matters, a single person’s negligence can lead to problems for many, explained Breckinridge Area Wildlife Manger Shannon Schwab.

“A problem bear is everyone’s problem,” said Schwab. “If even one person doesn’t care enough to take precautions and a bear gets into their trash or their house, it increases the chances that the bear will move on to the neighbor’s house, and so on. Multiply that by thousands of bears across the state that are now preparing for winter and you can see why it is so important for everyone to do their part.”

Following the tips listed below is a good start to help reduce conflicts around the home, however, many other tips regarding hiking, camping and hunting in bear country can be found in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website at: 

Keep Bears Out

– Many bears that enter homes do so through an unlocked or open window or door. Close and lock all bear-accessible windows and doors when you leave the house, and at night before you go to bed.

– If you must leave downstairs windows open, install sturdy grates or bars. Screens don’t keep out bears.

– Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked when you’re not home, or at night. Don’t leave your garage door standing open when you’re not outside. Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, bird seed, or other attractants in your garage.

– Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including candy, gum, air fresheners, trash, lotions and lip balms.

– Bears are great climbers – remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper level decks and windows.

– Replace exterior lever-style door handles with good quality round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.

– Put on talk radio (not music) when you leave home; the human voice startles most bears.

 Get Rid of Attractants

– Bears follow their super-sensitive noses to anything that smells like food, and can follow scents from up to five miles away.

– Don’t leave trash out overnight unless it’s in a bear-proof enclosure or container. Obey all local regulations.

– We recommend feeding birds only when bears are hibernating.

Teach Bears They’re Not Welcome

– If a bear comes into your yard or close to your home, do yourself and the bear a big favor, and scare it away. A confident attitude plus loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn sends most bears running.

– If a bear enters your home, open doors and windows and make sure it can leave the same way it got in. Don’t approach the bear or block escape routes.

– Never approach a bear. If a bear won’t leave, call your local CPW office. If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Here kitty kitty…

September 29, 2011

Perhaps I should simply start a new page, or at least category about living in areas where wildlife are abundant. In any case we all need to remember that many wild creatures can, and will put a significant dent into a human body in certain situations.

Most of the time these attacks by wildlife are instinctual, as in the animal is simply trying to escape, protecting their young, or getting some chow. The people that are involved are usually those that are simply stuck on stupid. Be that feeding Coyotes, bears, etcetera. Then, there are those that defy reality, as in thinking that Grizzly Bears are cute, cuddly, and no threat whatsoever to humans. Think again folks! Even deer stomp the heck out of people every year.Read on…

CARBONDALE, Colo. – A mountain lion attacked and killed a pet dog at a ski area outside of Carbondale, prompting Colorado Parks and Wildlife to remind all residents in the state to take precautions in areas where conflicts with wildlife are possible.

A resident living near the Sunlight Ski Resort told a wildlife officer that an attack happened when she let her dogs walk outside at approximately 10 p.m., Wednesday. She ran out to her deck after hearing distressed barking, and watched as a mountain lion ran off with her 14 year-old poodle/shih tzu mix in its mouth.

“As troubling as the incident may seem, residents in this area need to remember that they live in mountain lion country and this can happen anytime,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “Lions are opportunistic predators, so we caution people to keep a close eye on their dogs, cats or other domesticated animals.”

Wildlife managers take human safety or loss of livestock into consideration when deciding whether to relocate or lethally manage a predator. However, they do not typically kill a lion that preys on an unsupervised pet.

“It does not appear to be a threat to people right now, but we will continue to monitor the situation, and we will take action if it becomes aggressive towards humans,” said Will.

Although mountain lions are typically reclusive and avoid humans, people occasionally encounter the big cats in areas where there is an abundance of their natural prey, such as mule deer, or other smaller species such as raccoons, skunks, porcupines and other similar wildlife.

Wildlife officers also received a report of another mountain lion inside the city limits of nearby Carbondale on Thursday, the day after the attack on the dog.

Sightings of mountain lions within Carbondale city limits may be uncommon, said District Wildlife Manager John Groves, but they are not completely unexpected. Groves said it appeared the lion was no longer within city limits and had likely moved on.

“People should remember that we are in an area where lions exist in significant numbers, and a sighting can happen anytime,” he said. “However, we do ask the public to let us know quickly if they see a lion in an area where they are not normally seen.”

As mountain lion populations have rebounded in recent decades, the number of sightings and close encounters in Colorado has increased. Fatalities, such as the death of an Idaho Springs jogger in 1991, and attacks, remain exceedingly rare.

“Mountain lions are opportunistic predators and are certainly powerful enough to kill a human, but they typically choose their natural, four-legged prey, and tend to avoid anything on two legs,” said Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero.

However, Romero warned that people should not ignore a possible threat from a lion, and should follow a few basic tips to help reduce the possibility of an encounter, or attack.

“Try to avoid walking your pet at night,” she said. “Lions have excellent eyesight and can see you clearly in the dark, but a human needs light to see, and walking during daylight hours allows you to see a potential threat.”

Romero also advised people to fight back strenuously if attacked.

“A lion will retreat if you are able to injure or hurt it during an attack, so don’t run from it, but do fight back if attacked,” she said.

Wildlife managers also recommend the following tips:

– When you walk or hike in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce your chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are close to you and within your sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.

– Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.

– Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly.

– Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.

– Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.

– If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or any item you can quickly grab without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds everyone that as the human population of the state tops 5 million, there will likely be an increase in encounters. However, the public can avoid serious conflicts by following a few recommended suggestions that can help them live with wildlife responsibly.

To learn more about living with mountain lions, please visit:


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:



August 9, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife is asking residents and vacationers in southern Colorado to take extra care to avoid attracting hungry bears to homes, cabins, campgrounds and picnic areas.

Within the past few weeks, wildlife officers have responded to a higher than normal level of calls about bears entering homes, garages, sheds, tents, chicken coops and damaging beehives.

Wildlife officials killed a bear that injured a teenage camper in his tent July 15 near Leadville. The bear had apparently ransacked a cooler outside a tent in an adjacent area of the camp prior to the incident.

“This has been a below average year for natural food for bears,” explained Cory Chick, an area wildlife manager from Colorado Springs. “During the summer, bears depend on green, palatable vegetation and bugs and other critters they find under rocks and logs as their primary food sources. But those natural food sources are harder to find in dry conditions.”

Chick says natural food sources are out there, but some bears have slowed in searching for them because humans are making it too easy for bears to find unnatural food around homes.

With prime feeding time for bears just ahead, wildlife managers are concerned that the number of bear encounters could increase and are advising people to remove food attractants from their homes and campsites to avoid confrontations with bears.

When bears have to look harder to find natural forage, they gravitate toward any place they can find food — which brings them into closer proximity to people.  When they find a food source, natural or not, bears will frequent the area until it is gone.

“During dry years like this, the bears have to look harder for food, and in doing so often end up finding what people leave out – garbage, bird feeders, barbecue grills and other human food,” said Chick.

“We are always going to have nuisance bears, but when bears are rewarded for foraging around houses and outbuildings, it increases the chances a nuisance bear becomes a dangerous bear,” Chick added.

“Our standard recommendations in normal years are for people to secure their trash, bring in bird feeders and pet food, and remove food attractants,” said district wildlife officer Aaron Flohrs. “This summer, we are asking people to be extra vigilant.”

Flohrs says that before people begin feeling sorry for the bears and take it upon themselves to feed them, they should know that feeding a bear is the absolute worst thing a person can do for it.

“There is always potential for human injury when bears come close to people,” Flohrs said. “But the risk factors go way up when the bears are ‘rewarded’ by people feeding them — or when bears get people food in any manner.”

Bears in Colorado evolved during periods of dry spells long before humans settled the state. “They will make it through this dry spell, too,” said Chick. “Right now we just want people to take the proper precautions to avoid anyone getting injured and keep bears out of trouble.”

The Division of Parks and Wildlife uses a decision tree to rate problem bears. Wildlife managers evaluate each conflict as to degree of urgency based on three categories. The first and lowest is a “nuisance” bear, second is a “depredating” bear, and the third level is a “dangerous” bear.

Most bear reports are classified at the nuisance level. This category includes bears that may pose a threat to property or may have already damaged property, but there is no immediate threat to humans. Action for bears at this level include a variety of deterrent methods, trying to educate the people on how to coexist with bears, and as a last resort trap and relocate the problem bear.

On the other hand, depredating and dangerous bears are dealt with in stronger methods and as soon as possible.

If weather conditions improve by mid to late August, the fall food supply of fruit and acorns should improve the situation. In the meantime, the best solution is to recognize that Colorado is bear country and to learn to live with the bruins as responsibly as we can, said Chick.

For more information on how to reduce the risk of bear conflicts in your neighborhood, please see:


For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Bears beware..?

April 17, 2011

Back in the day… Alright, a little background is indicated. Animal rights wacko jobs succeeded in getting the voters of Colorado to pass a law that forbid spring bear hunting. For all the wrong headed reasons.

It didn’t help sometime later when..? A Division of Wildlife officer testified at a trial that there had never been a documented case of a black bear harming a human…

In any case the results were as expected. Human bear conflicts rose to unprecedented levels, including a woman being killed, and partially consumed by bears. Now, it appears that the truth is coming back to haunt the people of Colorado. Read on…

DENVER (AP) – Bears beware – Colorado lawmakers worried about the animals’ growing population are talking about giving wildlife officials more say over when bears can be hunted.

A proposal set for its first hearing Monday would repeal a 1992 voter-approved initiative that prohibits hunting bears from March 1 to Sept. 1 and give the state Division of Wildlife authority to expand hunting dates.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative amid concern that female bears were being hunted in the spring, when they are taking care of their cubs. The initiative also banned hunting bears with dogs and baiting bears with food to kill them. The bill sponsored by Rep. J. Paul Brown would not eliminate those provisions.

Brown, a lawmaker from southwestern Colorado, said he’s concerned that the animals are becoming less afraid of people.



Coyotes and Spring: Living with wildlife

April 30, 2010

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is asking people to take precautions when living or recreating in coyote country. From coyote attacks on pets to aggressive coyotes approaching people, the Division is receiving increasing calls about coyote activity.

“Spring is denning season for coyotes and with new pups in the dens, coyotes will behave more aggressively,” explained John Broderick, Terrestrial Program Manager for the Division of Wildlife. “When you put defensive coyotes trying to feed their young into the mix with lots of people heading outdoors to enjoy the warming weather, you get the right mix for potential problems.”

The DOW wants to caution people about encounters with coyotes. These are not pets. They are wild animals that are predators, and they should be treated with caution and respect.

The coyote (Canis latrans) is a member of the dog family. It resembles a small German shepherd with the exception of the long snout and bushy, black-tipped tail. Coyotes are extremely adaptable and resourceful, and can survive on whatever food is available. They prey on rabbits, mice, birds and other small animals, as well as young deer and sheep. In urban areas, coyotes have attacked people’s small pets – cats and dogs included – particularly when pets are allowed to roam free or left out in yards overnight. A typical coyote weighs about 30 lbs.

Coyote home ranges can include urban areas such as the downtown Denver corridor. From feeding on pets in the urban environment to more natural prey in canyon, sage and forest lands, coyotes are common around the state.

Many urban coyote conflicts often center on feeding issues. When people feed wildlife, it doesn’t take long to teach a wild animal to associate people with food, but it’s very difficult to convince a habituated coyote to return to wild ways. Coyotes that appear friendly may be mimicking behavior that has been rewarded with food in the past: Remember that all wildlife is unpredictable. Do not get close or encourage interaction with wild animals. When it becomes apparent that no food is forthcoming, the coyote’s behavior can change abruptly.

People with pets need to keep them on a leash when walking them. While at home, pets should not be allowed to roam freely.  Even pets in enclosed yards run the risk of predation, especially at night.  People should also feed their pets inside in an effort to keep pet food from attracting coyotes and other wildlife.

Encounters with aggressive coyotes should be reported to the nearest Colorado Division of Wildlife office.

For more information, get a copy of “Living with Wildlife in Coyote Country” at your local Division of Wildlife office or on the web at

An educational video entitled “Being Coyote Wise” is also available for viewing on the Division of Wildlife website:

# # #


Discouraging Coyotes Near Homes

  • Frighten coyotes with loud noises; use unnatural odors (such as ammonia) to clean trash cans.
  • Remove food attractants such as pet food, table scraps on compost piles, fallen fruit, and spilled seed beneath birdfeeders.
  • Remove vegetation and brush that provides cover for prey and hiding cover for coyotes; trim lower limbs of shrubs and conifer trees.
  • Use yard lights with motion detectors, appearance of the sudden light may frighten coyotes away.

    Protecting Pets and Children

  • Keep pets in fenced areas or kennels; remember split rail fences and invisible fences will not keep your pet safe from predators. Pet kennels and runs should have a fully-enclosed roof.
  • Provide human supervision while outdoors, even in your own backyard.
  • Do not allow pets to run loose in areas where there is coyote activity. Keep pets on leash or leave the area when you see a coyote. Most urban areas have leash laws requiring dogs to be under control. Coyotes and foxes have been known to be responsible for many cat disappearances in residential neighborhoods.
  • Although rare, coyotes have been known to injure people.  Most of these incidents involved people feeding coyotes. Teach your family not to approach wildlife and never feed wildlife.
  • Treat the presence of a coyote as an unfamiliar and potentially threatening dog.

    Coyote Encounters

  • Coyotes are usually wary of humans and will avoid people whenever possible. Aggressive behavior toward people is not normal and is often a result of habituation due to feeding by humans.
  • Never feed or attempt to “tame” a coyote.
  • Do not turn your back or run from a coyote.
  • If approached or followed by a coyote, make loud noises, yell and make yourself look big.
  • If the coyote approaches to an uncomfortably close distance, throw rocks or other objects at the coyote.
  • Adults should keep themselves between the coyote and small children.

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Living with Wildlife: It’s that time of year again folks!

April 28, 2010


DURANGO, Colo. — Bears are emerging from their long winter naps throughout Colorado, and the Division of Wildlife is reminding residents and visitors to always be bear aware.

At this time of year, bears will be looking for new plant growth and fresh grass to eat to help them restart their digestive systems. But bears, once they are up and running, are opportunistic feeders and will exploit any available food supply, including: garbage, pet food, bird seed, and home and restaurant table scraps. Bears that become habituated to human food sources can be dangerous and often must be euthanized.

Because they are large omnivores, bears are nearly always on a search for food. Wild foods are essential for bears — berries, insects, acorns forbs, plants and carrion. But when people fail to store garbage, pet food or bird feeders properly, bears will find those sources and cause conflicts in residential and business areas.

Many communities in bear country have ordinances regarding trash storage that apply to wildlife, so abide by those rules.

If you live in bear country, these simple precautions can reduce or eliminate your chances of creating conflicts with bears:
–          Keep garbage in a secure building or a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster.
–          If you don’t have a place to store garbage, ask the trash company for a bear-resistant container or order one. Many suppliers advertise containers on the Internet.
–          Place smelly food scraps in the freezer until garbage day.
–          Rinse out all cans, bottles and jars so that they are free of food and odors before putting them out for recycling or pick-up.
–          Put out garbage cans only on the morning of pick-up. Do not put out garbage the night before.
–          Wash garbage cans regularly with ammonia to eliminate food odors.
–          Don’t leave pet food or pet dishes outside.
–          Bird feeders are a major cause of wildlife conflicts. Besides bears, feeders may also attract small mammals, deer and mountain lions. Birds do not need to be fed during the summer. As an alternative to feeders, attract birds naturally by hanging flower baskets, putting out a bird bath or planting a variety of flowers. Use bird feeders only from November until the end of March when bears are hibernating.
–          If bears get into bird feeders, take the feeders down immediately and don’t put them back up.
–          Pick ripe fruit from trees and off the ground.
–          Clean outdoor grills after each use; the smell of grease can attract bears.
–          Never intentionally feed bears.
–          Close and lock lower floor windows and doors of your house.
–          Clean up thoroughly after outdoor parties.
–          Don’t leave food in your car, lock car doors. Bears are smart and many have learned to open car doors.
–          When camping, store food and garbage inside a locked vehicle. Keep the campsite clean. Don’t eat in the tent. In the backcountry, hang your food at least 10 feet high and 10 feet away from anything a bear can climb.
–          Bears are not naturally aggressive toward people and prefer to avoid contact. If you see a bear in your neighborhood make it feel unwelcome: yell at it, throw sticks and rocks at it. But never approach a bear.

Remember this: “a fed bear is a dead bear.” Making food available to bears teaches them to associate humans with food — and that’s the start of conflict.

To report bear problems, contact your local Colorado Division of Wildlife office, or local law enforcement.

To learn more about living with bears, go to the DOW’s web site:

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Living with Wildlife: Mountain Lions are called that for a reason!

April 25, 2010


Mountain lion sightings are becoming more and more common in Colorado. The Colorado Division of Wildlife has produced a short video about safety in lion country to help educate residents and visitors. Media outlets, schools and organizations are invited to link to this video from their respective web sites.

The “Mountain Lion Safety” video explains lion behavior, how you can prevent attracting lions onto your property, how to protect pets and livestock, and what to do if you come close to a lion on a trail or in the backcountry.

The link to the video at the DOW website is:

The video can also be found on YouTube, search “Mountain Lion Safety.”

For more information about Division of Wildlife go to:

Living with wildlife Montana style: Or, another reason to love Mules!

February 21, 2010
Living with wildlife has become something of a hit here,and I was
sent these pictures. Seems a couple from Montana were out for a
ride along with their dogs, and a Cougar decided that it wanted a
doggy snack. The man dismounted and took out a rifle, his wife
took out a camera. The mule went on offense...

Just a note, this was in a very old email and I'm not sure who
to credit this too.

Living with Wildlife: Elk Rut in Estes Park

October 9, 2009

If ever a town could be called a tourist trap Estes Park would be the poster child of any marketing class. Nevertheless it does have its attractions. Watch, and enjoy this thrilling piece dealing with the elk rut. Many other very good videos are located HERE as well. Managing wildlife encounters has become a way of life for the people of Colorado, as well as the DOW.

Moose Loose in Broomfield!

July 31, 2009

I spent five and a half years at Broomfield Ambulance, and never did I hear anything like this come over the radio! An occasional bear maybe, but a Moose!

BROOMFIELD — Officials with the Colorado Division of Wildlife spent Wednesday afternoon tracking down a female moose that wandered into the city.

The moose was spotted near West 152nd Avenue and Bannock Street. The area is an isolated part of Broomfield near the junction of Interstate 25 and the Northwest Parkway.

The moose wandered around the area and by 4:30 p.m. had made a bed in what appeared to be a drainage ditch near Huron Street.

Three DOW officers were on the scene. They weren’t planning on moving her.

“Right now, our direction is just to monitor it and make sure it doesn’t get too close to the highway,” district wildlife manager Vicki Vargas-Madrid said.

Because the moose was bedding down, the officers were unable to estimate her size or age.


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