Bear sightings down in El Paso County: Do's and don'ts if you encounter one

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo (KKTV) - It seems like we've been seeing more bears lately, but sightings are actually down in El Paso County.

Bear on Colorado College's campus 6/15/2020

11 News noticed multiple bear sightings in recent weeks, including a bear that snuck into a home, a bear that attacked a dog and a bear seen on Colorado College's campus downtown last week.

But, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has actually seen fewer bears than usual. In June 2019, CPW reported 121 sightings. In June 2020, there are currently 104 sightings.

“More people are home with everything that’s going on. So it’s probably the reason people feel like they’re up, but our data is showing it’s down," said District Wildlife Manager Sarah Watson.

CPW southeast region, including El Paso and Teller counties, is the second-highest region in the state for bear reports. The highest bear reports come from the mountain areas.

“It’s super common. We’ve got bears all throughout the city," said Watson.

If you come across a bear near your home or in a tree, CPW recommends staying inside and securing pets, kids and trash cans. If you come face-to-face with a bear, don't run. Make yourself seem as big and loud as possible, and slowly back away.

"They are predators so if they run, predator-prey instinct sometimes kicks in," said Watson.

CPW also recommends keeping garage doors closed and doors locked so bears can't find dog food, birdseed or refrigerators.