Be 'bear aware' in the Colorado Springs area

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Many viewers have been sending pictures and videos of bears in their neighborhoods, bringing attention to the fact that bears are active from spring through fall.

Photo courtesy: Gibson Hazard

A new video, from the Stratmoor Hills neighborhood, shows a bear scaling a fence on Oct. 12.

In the past few weeks 11 News has received several pictures and videos from all parts of the city.

Wildlife officials say if you see a bear, try to look big, make noise and back away slowly.

There is also the Bear Aware program, a network of trained Colorado Parks and Wildlife volunteers throughout the state who help their neighbors and communities prevent problems for themselves and for bears. Bear Aware volunteers can answer questions, offer practical advice and even make house calls??. Click here for more on the Bear Aware program.

Tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to keep bears out of your home:

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 at night
and when you’re not home. 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.
If you want to feed birds when bears are active, please
review the Attracting Birds, Not Bears fact sheet on our website.

-Don’t store food of any kind in an unlocked garage, flimsy
shed or on or under your deck.

-Don’t leave anything with an odor outside, near open windows
or in your vehicle, even if you’re home. That includes scented
candles, air fresheners, soaps and lotions.
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.