Bears are awake in Colorado, what you need to know

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It's a sure sign of spring in Colorado. The bears are awake and this week has been full of sightings.

A bear was just captured in Colorado Springs after a wild chase Thursday. Another was also spotted just a block away from the Citadel Mall. There's been more sightings in Pueblo West and beyond too.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says when bears wake up from hibernation they want food. Bird feeders and garbage cans are easy targets, but if bears use that for a food source it can become a serious problem. CPW says bears who return to a place to find food from a human source will be food-conditioned and could enter homes, garages, or cars.

Here's what CPW recommends to teach bears to stay away:

1. Use deterrents
Parks and Wildlife says deterrents can be great way to keep bears away from areas where they have learned there are people. We all live with wildlife, but you want to encourage exploring bears to move on and find a different food source. CPW recommends electronic deterrents like flashing lights, noise makers, alarsm, even sprinkler systems. You can even leave on a radio to make it sound like someone is there or use a scent deterrent. Try using bleach or ammonia-based cleaners on your trash cans.

2. Use enclosures
If you can't keep your garbage bin locked away, try putting it in a simple enclosure. Parks and Wildlife recommends using a chain-linked fence that has a locking gate, not a latching one.

3. Unwelcome Mats
Unwelcome mats can be very effective at keeping bears away, according to CPW. They are usually made of plywood and have small nails pointing up. CPOW says they can be placed in front of bear-accessible doors and windows.

4. Bear-Safe Bird Feeding
CPW recommends using bird feeders during winter months when bears are hibernating. A bird feeder is an easy food source for bears looking for a high-calorie pay off with little work. CPW says studies show over 80 percent of human-bear conflicts can be traced back to the bear's first encounter with a bird feeder. CPW recommends bringing your bird feeder inside at night during times when bears are active and keep them out of reach.

5. Lock Your Doors
CPW recommends keeping all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked. That includes your home, garage, and car doors. Also, don't leave any trash, food, coolers, air fresheners or anything that smells in your vehicle.

For more on how to live with bears from CPW click here.