Living With Bears

Every summer we receive several emails asking us to get the word out about bears in the neighborhood and how to best co-exist with them. The bears are on peoples decks, in their cars, in their trash, and on our roads. Robert Williams, our VP and a Virunga National Park Gorilla Conservationist took a few minutes to write up some points of advice and provide a few PDF’s and links to help protect the bears and your property.

Living with Bears in St. Anton’s:
With drought condition among the worst on record, we’re seeing an increased level of bear activity in the HOA because their natural food sources have become extremely scarce. The following information will help you peacefully co-exist with these amazing creatures. Life is tough enough on our bears, so let’s give them a break!

Tips that will protect bears and you:
1. Never leave food out for bears and never leave trash outside except on pick-up days. Never put trash out the night before and avoid doing so early in the morning on pick-up day. Always secure the trash can lid.
2. Remember, bears can smell one part in 5 million (whereas bloodhounds can smell 1 in 3 million..), so avoid leaving food stores of any kind in your garage (birdseed and dog food included). You will not fool them!
3. Clean your BBQ grill with a wire brush after each use, and if possible, store at the back of your garage.
4. Secure your dogs in the evening because this is when bears begin to forage.
5. Take in bird feeders – they attract bears as well as birds.
6. Wash out your trash cans after emptying and spray them with ammonia.
7. Bears can recognize food opportunities by sight, in addition to smell.  Therefore, if you have a refrigerator in your garage, cover it with a tarp to disguise it.
8. Spray ammonia on any doors, around windows into a garage or shed, to keep bears from being able to smell what is in the garage.

What to do if a bear is on your property:
1. Make loud noises to drive the bear away. Bang pots and pans together, yell at the bear in a stern voice, but do not approach the bear. Pepper spray is an option too, but be careful not to spray yourself.
2. Give the bear a chance to leave on his/her own. DON’T call the Colorado Division of Wildlife unless absolutely necessary and DON’T call 911 unless someone has been injured by the bear. Bears will leave on their own — and at their own pace, which is often quite slow.
3. Remember, YOU moved to their home. Give them the respect they deserve. After all, survival is tough enough for bears!

Links to great info about bears on the Colorado Division of Wildlife page.

Here are two great PDF’s worth reading.
Bearproofing Trash
Living With Bears

Thanks, SAHFAHOA Board