Bear safety tips
With the flurry of bear sightings in Broomfield last week, the Open Space and Trails Department issued a news release Thursday with some general safety guidelines.
Bear sightings are not uncommon along the Front Range, even in neighborhoods and residential areas, and in most cases, bears are simply seeking new habitat and will pass through residential areas without conflict, according to the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife. Colorado is home only to black bears, which could be black, brown, cinnamon or blond fur, and are not aggressive, according to CPW.
If you do encounter a bear, wildlife officials advise:
• Stay calm and never run; running can make a bear chase you.
• Keep your distance. Back slowly away while facing the bear, but avoid direct eye contact.
• Slowly and calmly leave the area. Talk aloud so the bear will become aware of you.
• Be extra careful around a female with cubs. Never approach a cub.
• Never throw food to distract a bear. This teaches a bear to approach people for food.
• Fight back if attacked. Black bears have been driven away when people fight with rocks, sticks, binoculars or even bare hands.
• Report sightings to police dispatch at 303-438-6400 or CPW at 303-291-7277. In an emergency, call 911.
Ways you can bear-proof your back yard include:
•Keep garbage indoors until trash pick-up or use a bear-proof garbage can.
• Feed pets and store pet food inside.
• Burn barbecue grills to immediately clean them after use, and store them indoors.
• Only feed birds in winter, when they need it and when bears sleep. Bears love bird seed and hummingbird feeders.
• Never store food outside. Bears will tear open locked freezers.
•Never leave food, trash, pet food or coolers in your car. Bears will tear open doors and break windshields.
•Harvest fruit and vegetables as they ripen. Pick up fallen fruit from the ground. Keep your lawn mowed and free of flowering dandelions and clover.
• Keep compost clean and securely enclosed .
If you see a bear in your yard:
• Stay calm. If the bear does not find food, it will usually leave.
• Stay away. Bears might attack when they feel threatened.
• Warn others. Bring kids and pets indoors. Remind others to keep their distance.
• Scare that bear. Make sure the bear has a clear escape path. Make lots of noise, turn on lights, bang pots. Don't let the bear become comfortable around your home.
• Remove attractants. After the bear is gone, make sure your home is bear-proof.
The five-day walkabout a young black bear had in Broomfield came to an end Thursday.
The bear, first spotted Sunday, was spotted again Thursday afternoon in a tree on Mesa Court. Hours later, he was tranquilized, dragged from his pine tree perch, given eye drops and an ear tag and whisked away on a trailer bound for a new, more suitable home, thus ending the bruin's adventures in the city.
The bear, who is about a year or two old, will be relocated somewhere in the northern Front Range, said Larry Rogstad, an area wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"There's been so much interest from the neighborhood," he said, turning to watch neighbors on Mesa Court pull out their cell phones and take pictures of the tranquilized bear.
Leaning into the trailer, a wildlife official gave the bear eye drops, because the animal loses its ability to blink when it is tranquilized.
Rogstad said bear sightings in Broomfield are very rare, but it's not uncommon for younger bears to wander into urban areas when they are old enough to leave their mothers. The bear on Mesa Court was likely scouting new territory for the first time and got lost, he said.
If residents ever cross paths with a bear, "we always tell people to let it move on on its own. If it gets crowded in, it will start to run, and that's when it gets tough" to capture, he said.
The bear, who seemed to make himself at home in the neighborhood, was the cause of much excitement during his visit. He ate well — devouring at least one garden — and provided an exciting day for one family.
Rosemary Floyd said she was home about 9:30 a.m.. Thursday when a neighbor warned her to bring in her cats, because a bear had been seen in the neighborhood.
One cat was at the rear of her yard near a wooded area.
"I picked him up and brought him inside when my daughter screamed, 'There's a bear in the back yard,' Floyd said .
"I thought she was just kidding."
But her 9-year-old daughter was serious.
Floyd described the bear as an adolescent male, "kind of scrawny looking." She said he circled the play set in her yard, then jumped the fence into a neighbor's yard.
She called 911, but the bear was gone when police and wildlife officials responded.
Officials warned her the bear might come back, and that the mother bear is probably nearby. And back he was Thursday afternoon, hanging out in the pine tree. Another call and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers were on their way to try and end the bear's escapades in Broomfield.
The bear was spotted again when Rosemary Floyd was doing a television news interview about her morning adventure when something caught the eye of the reporter. And there was the bear, resting about 30 feet up in the tree.
The Floyds weren't the only ones on Mesa Court who got a visit.
Resident Karen Erickson said she also reported the bear earlier in the day, but thought it had moved on.
"A number of our other neighbors have stories of seeing him. We've lived here 22 years and have never seen a bear here," she said.
Another neighbor, Brandi Neubauer, said the bear wandered through her front yard at 7:15 a.m. Thursday.
"My husband said, 'man, that's a really big dog.' We were so surprised it was the bear. It was nerve wracking because I knew my cat was out there," she said.
After getting numerous reports of the sightings, Broomfield Police Sgt. Steve Griebel said police went around the neighborhood to alert residents to keep their pets inside and to keep their voices low, so as not to startle the bear.
There had been reports of a young bear in the area since Sunday.
A young black bear was seen shortly after 7:30 a.m. Sunday near 136th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard, south of 136th Avenue, said Broomfield Police Department spokeswoman Joleen Reefe. The bear was spotted again after 1 p.m. that day north of 136th Avenue in the Aspen Creek neighborhood. Police and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers monitored the bear throughout the afternoon and into the evening, but did not tranquilize it, instead letting it find its way back to more suitable habitat on its own.
Sightings were reported Tuesday and Wednesday, too, but the bear was not located by wildlife officers until Thursday.
The Denver Post contributed to this report.