DougCo Sheriff warns residents after two bear sightings reported

Heather Willard

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(Douglas County Sheriff's Office)

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Oct. 5, 2022

(Highlands Ranch, Colo.) The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports a bear was spotted near Highlands Ranch while another was spotted on camera in western Douglas County.

Neither caused much damage. The bear in Highlands Ranch took a nap in a tree after eating fermented apples, while the other discovered cleanings from a cat litter pan in an outdoor garbage can.

While neither bear created a dangerous situation, the sheriff’s office warns either had the possibility.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides several resources about black bears, which are typically non-aggressive. However, bears can lose their wariness of humans and are still large, powerful animals.

“Most conflicts between people and bears can be traced to easy-to-get-at human food, garbage, pet food, bird seed or other attractants,” said Travis Duncan, Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information supervisor.

“When people allow bears to find food, a bear’s natural drive to eat can overcome its wariness of humans.”

When bears get too comfortable around people, they can destroy property or potentially threaten human safety.

“That’s why CPW asks the public to help protect bears and keep them wild by preventing them from accessing human food sources,” Duncan said.

According to the department, black bears in Colorado are in hyperphagia and will spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat more than 20,000 calories to fatten up for winter. As bears prepare to hibernate and hunt for food, Coloradans may see more bear activity in urban areas until mid-November.

CPW recommends residents practice being bear-responsible.

“It’s like recycling — at first it’s a little extra effort, but soon it becomes a better way to live,” explained Duncan. “You can be proud you’re helping to make Colorado a better place for people and bears.

CPW recommends that residents:

  • Don’t feed bears, and don’t put out food for other wildlife that attracts bears.
  • Be responsible about trash and bird feeders, and trash bags stored outside—bears can't resist checking them out.
  • Burn food off barbeque grills and clean after each use.
  • Keep all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked, including home, garage and vehicle doors.
  • Don’t leave food, trash, coolers, air fresheners or anything that smells in your vehicle.
  • Pick fruit before it ripens, and clean up fallen fruit.
  • Talk to your neighbors about doing their part to be bear responsible.
  • If a bear comes near your home, do your best to chase it away. Yell, blow a whistle, clap your hands, and make other loud noises. But never approach a bear.

More information is available on CPW’s website: cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeBears2.aspx

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

Broomfield, CO
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