As winter approaches, bear activity increases

Matt Stensland

— As winter approaches, Steamboat Springs residents should expect to see increased bear activity.

“This time of year, the bears are really foraging heavily,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife manager Andrea Sponseller said. “They have to get their calories to survive through the winter.”

Recently, local police and wildlife officers have received more calls about bears.

On Wednesday, a sow and two cubs were hanging out in the area of Laurel Street all day. The bears went up in a tree, and the sow could not get the cubs down due to constant human activity.

“They were just unable to get out of the area,” Sponseller said.

Also in the area, wildlife officials investigated bears that took advantage of the smorgasbord of food in a backyard. The backyard was filled with fruit trees and other food sources.

“It only makes sense that a bear would be in that area,” Sponseller said.

Sponseller said if residents do not want bears damaging their trees, they should pick the fruit.

Libbie Miller, another district wildlife manager, said people should expect to see increased bear activity through October. As the bears consume their natural food sources, they tend to start eyeing other sources, such as trash, Miller said.

“It’s super important for people to minimize their food sources,” Miller said.

On Thursday, wildlife officials were monitoring a sow and two cubs near the Steamboat schools on the Strawberry Park campus. Miller said the bears had gone up a tree and were napping.

Outside school activities were kept away from the bears, and students were told to buddy up on their way home. Miller said they always encourage the children to buddy up because they never know what they will encounter.

“The Steamboat schools are right in the middle of prime wildlife habitat,” Miller said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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