The Bear Necessities

(This guest post is authored by Kate E. Jerman of Get Outdoors Colorado)

Get Outdoors Colorado is busting a springtime myth to help you get outside with one less wildlife anxiety.  Although there may still be snow on the ground, spring means black bears are coming out of hibernation in Colorado and they will be looking for food.
Myth: Bears coming out of hibernation are more ferocious because they are hungry.
False: They may be hungry, but not for you!  Fresh out of hibernation, bears are looking for grasses, insects, cabbages, roots, berries, fish, or small rodents.  Black bear attacks are very rare. There have been only 61 black-bear related deaths since 1900 in the US. This means your chances of dying from a bee sting, a domestic dog attack, or a car accident are much higher than a bear attack. In fact, of the estimated 750,000 black bears in North America – they kill less than one person per year – and seldom attack unless they feel threatened, cornered, or provoked.
To avoid a close bear encounter – be Bear Aware!  If you do see a black bear, stop, do not run, stay calm, and pick up any small children. If you see cubs, their mother is usually close by, so leave the area immediately. Make a lot of noise so they know you are around and back away slowly. The most likely places to see these bears are around campgrounds because they are searching for food.
You should never feed a bear or leave food out for a bear.Making food available to a bear, even a single time, teaches the bear to associate humans with food. Once a bear learns this association, it can become a returning nuisance and wildlife officers must euthanize the bear. Before you go camping, check with your national forest or park and follow the guidelines for food storage so you don’t run into a an un-bearableencounter! Visit the Myths and Facts at the Get Outdoors Coloradowebsite for more answers to commonly asked outdoor myths.

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