Uptick in bear activity in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Uptick in bear activity in Steamboat Springs

A bear hangs out in a tree in 2012 across from Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs.

— Steamboat’s black bear population is packing on the pounds before hibernation, and they are not done getting into shenanigans yet.

Recently, there have been two instances of bears getting into cars. Some bears know how to manipulate the handles.

In one case, a bear got into an unlocked car on Anglers Drive and caused significant damage inside. The bear was no longer in the car when Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers arrived, but there was significant damage.

“I’m not an insurance adjuster, but the car was totaled,” Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf said.

The other incident happened in the area of Clubhouse Drive.

Wildlife officers believe there was trash inside the car, and the driver’s side window was cracked. This attracted a bear.

The bear was no longer in the car when officers arrived, but the passenger window was broken.

Wildlife officers have found other signs of bear activity like scat downtown, trash outside of trash cans and reports of bears in dumpsters.

Wildlife officer Andrea Sponseller said residents should take steps to help keep bears from getting into trouble. That includes securing trash, locking cars and keeping bird feeders aways from bears.

The bear problems come despite bountiful amounts of natural bear food like berries in the forest this year.

“We had a banner year for forage,” Middledorf said.

That helped keep bears from seeking out human food in town during the summer.

“For a bear year, we didn’t have that many problems,” Middledorf said.

The bears right now are trying to get as many calories as possible.

Bears typically begin hibernating at the end of November, but that can depend on food availability and the weather.

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

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