El Paso County has the second-highest number of bear encounters in Colorado

Colorado Jill

(Colorado Springs, CO) The human population in Colorado is rapidly growing, especially along the Front Range. Rural areas that were bear habitats are now developed areas, and human-bear conflict is on the rise.

According to data from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), El Paso County had 336 bear activity reports in 2022, the second highest in Colorado. Pitkin County, which includes Aspen and Snowmass Village, had the most bear reports at 718.

The most common bear attractant is trash. Bears are also drawn to beehives, vehicles with food, livestock, pet food, bird seed, BBQ grills, compost, and Koi ponds. When bears find these food sources, there is a risk of property damage.

When a bear becomes a nuisance, CPW tries to relocate the animal, but these efforts are not always successful. CPW has a "two-strike" policy meaning that any bear captured and handled (tagged and relocated) must be destroyed if caught a second time.

Last year, eleven El Paso County nuisance bears were relocated; the largest number of relocations in the state. Sadly, seven bears in the county were euthanized.

There have been two bear deaths in El Paso County in the last week alone. A bear was trapped and euthanized after repeatedly breaking into a Colorado Springs home and a cub in Manitou Springs was electrocuted after being startled out of a trash bin and running up a utility pole.

Bears live in Colorado, and sightings are likely. It is part of the state's allure and charm, and there are simple ways to reduce human-bear conflict to keep property, animals, and humans safe.

  • Store trash responsibly in a garage or bear-proof receptacle
  • Don't use birdfeeders during active bear months (April 15th - November 15th)
  • Store pet food inside
  • Don't keep food in vehicles
  • Regularly clean up fruit from trees near the home

Bears have an excellent sense of smell and a good memory that will guide them back to a food source, creating a dangerous situation for humans and bears. Humans can prevent these encounters with easy behavior changes.

Go here to learn more about living with bears in Colorado and how to be "Bear Aware in 2023" - it is a matter of life and death!

Related article: A bear was euthanized in Colorado Springs; homeowner cited for feeding big game

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Jill is based in Colorado and writes about hidden gems, history, the great outdoors, and local events.

Colorado Springs, CO

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