SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s spring time in the Rockies and with a long winter behind them, the bears are back and they’re hungry.

Law enforcement in Summit County is already getting a lot of calls about nuisance bears.

“They’re starting to come out of hibernation and they’re starting to look for easy food,” said Tom Davies from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

At lower elevations bear sightings are starting to pick up. Parks and Wildlife is hoping people’s good habits haven’t been hibernating too.

“Bears think with their stomachs and if it’s a challenge to get they’re going to move on to easier stuff,” said Davies. “The biggest thing you can do is keep trash inside. If you can, keep it in a garage. If you have bear-proof trash cans, something to keep them away.”

Trash really is the No. 1 lure for bears going into populated areas.

“If they get rewarded, they knock a trash can over. They’ll come back,” said Davies.

With above average snowpack CPW is keeping an eye on the natural foods in the forest.

“Things are looking good right now. Things are budding out — we hope we won’t have a horrid freeze, a real hard freeze that would kill things. But with all the moisture we’re hoping for a good year,” said Davies.

What CPW is concerned about in the weeks ahead is a late freeze that could devastate the crop of berries and natural food sources in the forest. That happened just a few years ago around Aspen when they had the worst summer for bear encounters in Colorado history.


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