Roadside signs warn "bears are clever." Stories of bears digging through trash cans abound. As autumn rolls around, Colorado Parks and Wildlife warns that people should be on the lookout for hungrier bears.
The region's black bears are entering a period called hyperphagia. As the animals prepare for hibernation, they are on the hunt for food, packing on calories ahead of winter hibernation.
During that period, bears spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat 20,000 calories or more.
According to CPW, that hunt for calories could bring bears closer to homes and businesses.
"We want them to pack on those pounds with their natural food sources," said Travis Duncan of CPW. "Not your dumpster, not your trash, not your bird feeders. Those aren’t natural food sources for them, and it can create a dangerous situation both for you and for the bear."
Duncan said any bear sightings should be reported to the CPW, and human-bear interactions can be avoided by securing trash and locking doors and windows.