11:14am

Sat April 27, 2013
Environment

6 Ways To Bear-Proof Your Home

Is your house bear proofed?
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

With bears emerging from hibernation, keeping them away from human food will keep both them and you safe.

The coming of spring means the return of bears to many people packed parts of the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say bears, coyotes and other predators that become conditioned to human-provided food often seek easy meals aggressively, and these conflicts can result in fed animals having to be put down when they become a threat to human health and safety.

6 Ways To Bear-Proof Your Home

  1. Many bears that enter homes get in through unlocked or open windows or doors. Close and lock all bear-accessible windows and doors when you leave the house and at night before you go to bed. Screens don’t keep out bears.
  2. Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked at night and when you’re not home. Don’t leave your garage door standing open when you’re not outside. Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, bird seed, or other attractants in your garage.
  3. Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including candy, gum, air fresheners, trash, lotions and lip balms.
  4. Turn on talk radio (or even better KUNC) when you leave home - the human voice startles bears.
  5. Bears are great climbers — remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper level decks  and windows.
  6. Replace exterior lever-style door handles with round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.

Wildlife managers also warn that large numbers of deer gathering around human-provided food near homes can attract mountain lions to a neighborhood, putting people and pets at higher risk.

"That's just one of the more serious, unintended consequences of feeding wildlife," said Bill de Vergie, area wildlife manager in Meeker. "It's irresponsible to put your entire community at risk by attracting deer and other wildlife to residential areas."

Some people claim that by feeding herbivores like deer they prevent damage to their landscaping or property, but authorities say that feeding them only attacks more animals. Colorado Parks and Wildlife say violators may receive fines from communities where feeding violates local ordinances, or from wildlife officers enforcing state laws.