DOW: Residents be aware of bear

Sightings in Steamboat area to increase with hibernation season nearing

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— Though black bears are venturing into Front Range communities to look for food this summer, sighting reports are down in Steamboat Springs.

But officials say more sightings are right around the corner.

Colorado Division of Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Libbie Miller said the number of bear sightings around Steamboat Springs is about one-third of last year's reports.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean bears are making less frequent visits to town.

"We obviously are still having bear coming into town. But a lot of people are getting used to it so we aren't getting as many reports," Miller said.

A late June freeze killed much of the berries and acorns the bears depend on for food.

That caused many bears to move from the high country into urban areas to search for food, she said.

"As the summer draws to an end, we will see an upswing in the amount of bears we'll see," Miller said.

To prepare for winter hibernation, the bears will eat 20 hours a day in the fall.

When that begins, locals can expect to see more bears in their neighborhood looking to fatten up, she said.

All sightings should be reported to the DOW at 870-2187.

Also, people should be extra careful about leaving trash out and having bird feeders that could be in bears' reach. If a person encounters a bear, they should not run, but walk away. If a bear attacks, a person should fight back. Miller said many people believe they should play dead if a black bear attacks. That is only true with grizzly bears.

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