By Makenzie O'Keefe

(CBS4) — It is time for Coloradans to shift back into “bear aware” mode now that the animals are emerging from their winter hibernation in search of food.

(credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said springtime is when the bears will begin to be active, and they have already received reports of bear activity in Steamboat, Durango and Colorado Springs.

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A wildlife camera captured video of a family of black bears on the move in Roxborough State Park in Douglas County earlier this month.

“It’s natural and now is the time that we like to remind people to secure your trash and take down those birdfeeders,” explained Jason Clay with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Those are two major sources of conflict.”

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When it comes to trash, Clay said you need to be sure that your trash cans are secured so a bear cannot get into it. In addition, he suggests waiting take your trash to the curb until the morning it will be picked up.

“You just want to do everything you can in our community to not have attractants out for bears,” Clay said.

CPW says that bears prefer natural sources of food but will turn to human provided food if its available. If a bear can find food near your home, it will likely keep coming back.

“They just follow their noses,” Clay said. “Bears are lazy animals, and they are extremely smart. They have great memories so they want to spend the least amount of effort to get the most calories.”

Clay said CPW usually receives around 5,000 reports of bear activity every year.

More tips to be “bear aware” from CPW include:

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  • Keep garages, windows and cars locked at night. Install extra sturdy doors if you have a refrigerator, pet food, bird seed or other attractants in your garage.
  • Teach bears they are not welcome. If a bear approaches your home or yard, yell, clap your hands, bang pots or pans or use an airhorn to scare it away (from a safe distance of course).
  • CPW recommends only using bird feeders when bears aren’t active. However, if you would like to use bird feeders year-round, CPW recommends keeping them at least 10 feet in the air and at least 10 feet away from anything that a bear could climb to reach it.
  • Don’t leave pet food or stock feed outside.
  • Do not keep food in your vehicle; roll up windows and lock the doors of your vehicles.

For a full list of tips and more information on bears you can visit

Makenzie O'Keefe