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Black Bears Emerging from Hibernation


Spring is nearly here and the regions black bears will be coming out of hibernation and looking for a quick, easy meal. If bears found food in the trash containers near your home or office last year before hibernating, it's probably one of the first places they will return to this spring. If it happens to be a returning sow with cubs, she’s unfortunately educating the next generation of “dumpster divers”.

Access to food habituates bears to becoming more comfortable around people. To help keep them away, make sure the doors on your bear-resistant dumpster or toter receptacles are closed and properly latched. This also protects the bear population, as medicines, chemicals, plastics, and other household trash items can kill or injure a bear.

With the new Colorado Spring ordinance requiring residents west of Interstate 25 to use bear-resistant containers or only put trash out on pick-up day, USAFA may see an increase in bear activity, especially around southern areas of the installation (horse stables, Pine Valley Housing, Service and Supply, etc.).

To report a bear-resistant dumpster needing repair in the Pine Valley or Douglass Valley housing areas, contact Hunt Housing maintenance at 867-9675. Housing residents who do not use a bear-resistant dumpster must secure their trash in a garage, or other enclosed area, until collection day.

For all non-housing bear-resistant container repairs, call the 10th CES Customer Service at 333-2790.

For immediate bear problems, contact the 10th Security Forces Squadron at 333-2000.

To report bear sightings or recurring issues, please call 10th CES Natural Resources at 333-3308.

Excellent "Living With Bears" information is available from Colorado Parks and Wildlife at http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx.

If you have questions about bears or other wildlife, contact 10th CES Natural Resources (333-3308) or visit https://usafa.isportsman.net/

Brian S. Mihlbachler, PhD
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Natural Resources Manager
USAF Academy