Colorado wildlife experts urge wildlife awareness as winter approaches

As winter approaches, experts share tips on protecting yourself and your pets safe from animals like bobcats.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:35 PM MST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 6:31 AM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - As winter approaches, animals like bobcats are more likely to be out and about. Colorado Parks and Wildlife tells 11 News that, while these animals may seem intimidating, there are easy steps to take to mitigate the threat they might pose.

CPW posted a video Monday morning of bobcats in the Rockrimmon neighborhood, in northern Colorado Springs. In the video, the cats seem to be in a backyard. Officials warn that, while tall fences are great for keeping pets in, they aren’t very effective in keeping wildlife out.

One resident of the same neighborhood says seeing these animals is pretty common. He says he has lived in the area for nearly 50 years and has learned that the chances of seeing these animals are very high.

“Fairly frequently, at least once a month, especially during the winter,” Bill Slaughter said.

That’s why Parks and Wildlife officials say it’s important to know what to do once you encounter these animals. In Colorado Springs, they say it’s more of a matter of when, rather than if.

“We have a wide variety, it could be anything from coyotes to bobcats,” Travis Sauder, the assistant area wildlife manager for CPW, said.

Despite this, he says the threat of these animals can be minimal if you leave them alone. He says if you let them go about their business, they will ignore you. But these animals are wild and can still pose a threat. He says it’s important to take precautions to avoid contact with them before the situation becomes dangerous.

“If you’re going to put your pet out, especially in the early morning hours or the late evening hours,” Sauder said, “take a quick look around -- a flashlight’s great -- turn on the back porch light, or you can make some noise to let other animals know that you’re going to be putting your pet out.”

Letting the animal know you’re there is important, he says, because you don’t want to frighten them. If you are out with a pet and you do come into contact, though, he says to stay calm.

Pick up your pet. This will tie them to you, making your pet seem less appetizing and more threatening.

From here, back up and head to a safe space away from the wild animal. CPW says the wild animal will likely run away from you. If they do act aggressively, though, it’s likely for good reason.

“It’s typically not out of what you would think, of them trying to eat us or trying to view us as a food source,” Sauder said. “Most the time, it’s defensive in nature, if they have young nearby or they feel cornered or threatened or scared.”

Even then, the best thing you can do, he says, is to walk away and leave the animal be.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has resources available to help you learn how to live with wildlife.