CPW asks Coloradans to avoid leaving pumpkins out for wildlife

Intentionally feeding wildlife is illegal in Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is trying to remind people to properly dispose of pumpkins following Halloween, rather than leaving them out.

“We want our wildlife to be sustained by the resources that naturally occur in their habitat,” said CPW Wildlife Pathologist Karen Fox in a statement. “Our policy is definitely to not provide supplemental food to big game in any form.”

According to CPW, deer feeding on pumpkins can attract predators such as mountain lions to residential areas. The agency added that bears are also attracted to the pumpkins as they look to pile on calories before denning, and that can lead to unnecessary human-bear conflicts.

As a result, state wildlife officials are encouraging people to properly dispose of their pumpkins, including programs that offer pumpkins to ranchers and farmers who feed them to domestic livestock. Perhaps more surprising, CPW is also asking people to refrain from dumping pumpkins on public lands.

“We do see pumpkins tossed out in the forest. Please don’t do that,” said CPW Assistant Area Wildlife Manager Steve McClung. “It can be viewed as baiting.

“As far as in-town pumpkins go, bears are still around and haven’t gone to bed yet. Other animals such as raccoons that may carry distemper or other diseases could also get into those pumpkins, and you don’t want potentially sick animals hanging around your home, especially if you have pets. Please find appropriate ways to discard your pumpkins after Halloween.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.