Colorado has an estimated 16,000 to 18,000 black bears and more than 5 million people.
Wildlife officials encourage those who live near areas where bears roam should discourage bears from seeking food near humans. It’s recommended to feed pets indoors, lock up trash, remove birdfeeders in spring and summer, keep grills clean and inside sheds or garages and lock doors and windows of homes and cars.
Don’t miss CBS4’s Bear Week coverage, and check out some resources below if you’re interested in learning more about bears in Colorado.
Living With Bears
Colorado Parks and Wildlife features an extensive Living with Bears online resource center on its website. It features information about “living, vacationing, and spending time outdoors in bear country. Plus, practical guidelines that will help you do your part to prevent human-bear conflicts, and keep bears wild.”
Pauline Schneegas Wildlife Foundation
The Pauline S. Schneegas Wildlife Foundation near Silt in Garfield County provides “quality, professional care and rehabilitation for injured or orphaned wildlife, in conjunction with educational programs on wildlife and environmental issues.” Colorado black bears are among the animals that have been rehabilitated and released by the agency, which is always looking for donations. Visit schneegaswildlifefoundation.org for more information.
Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Facts
Rocky Mountain National Park’s website has a special section about black bears. Visitors to the site can learn about the physical appearance, habitat, hunting and feeding habits of black bears and how they mate and breed. The site also has advice for what to do when sighting a black bear and how to properly store food and garbage.
U.S. Forest Service’s Living With Bears Web Page
The U.S. Forest Service website has a webpage that informs people on how to live with black bears. Besides basic information about black bears, the site also has advice on how to protect food and property when living in an area where black bears are present, and what to do if a black bear visits. The webpage also has extensive information about how dangerous black bears really are.
Aspen And Pitkin County Bear Resources
A special section of the website for the City of Aspen and Pitkin County has all the information residents and tourists need to know about bears and their activities in the area. The site features information about trash ordinances and other laws. It also features charts that track overall bear activity and emergency bear calls requiring an officer response on a month-to-month basis.
Bear Hunting In Colorado
Because the number of black bears in Colorado has risen in recent years, Parks and Wildlife has made more than bear hunting licenses available in the fall of 2012. Last year there were about 14,000 hunting licenses made available to hunt bear and about 1,350 bears were harvested. There are about 17,600 hunting licenses available this fall. Bears cannot be killed by hunters if they are accompanied by one or more cubs. Bears also can not be killed inside their dens. Visit the Parks and Wildlife’s Hunting webpage for more information about how to get a license, how to prepare for a legal bear hunt and how to properly handle bear meat.
The National Geographic’s website has information about the habits and tendencies of black bears, North America’s most familiar and common bears and the only bears one finds in Colorado these days. The site has a map that shows where black bears typically can be found in North America. There is also an informative audio link on the page that lets the site’s visitor listen to what a black bear sounds like.
Black Bear Conservation Coalition
The Black Bear Conservation Coalition asks people to “Help Restore the Bear.” The mission of the organization is to “promote the restoration of the Louisiana black bear in its historic range through education, research and habitat management.” The site hopes to get people to become members and make donations. Members receive a BBCC decal, annual newsletter and news updates. The group urges people to become a part of conservation and stay up-to-date on bear news.
The Sierra Club
The Sierra Club’s website has a special section dedicated to the grizzly bear, which has landed back on the endangered species list. The site has all the facts about grizzly bears and how people can take action to protect the species. The Sierra Club also has information about a new documentary called “Grizzly.” The film is narrated by Oscar Award-winning actress, Susan Sarandon.
The Black Bear Challenge
The Colorado Department of Natural Resources has a special kids page with a game that can be informative to adults as well. It’s called the Black Bear Challenge. According to the site’s instructions, players “select questions of increasing difficulty from five topics about black bears in Colorado. The more difficult the question, the more points (Bear Paws) you can score by answering correctly. But be careful — incorrect answers deduct Bear Paws from your total!”
Smokey the Bear
Perhaps America’s most famous bear, Smokey the Bear has spread the message that “Remember … Only YOU Prevent Wildfires!” for six decades. And he has his own website. The site has a special Kids page where you can “explore Smokey’s cabin to find all sorts of fun and interesting things about wildfire prevention.”