|This bear was slow to shed last winter's coat, which is all bleached out but still clinging.|
I think that that is a cub walking beside her in the lower photo, but the grass is so tall!
My answer was "Not around the house," and I like to think that is because of the (finally!) good acorn crop and the other natural food that has been available thanks to the very wet spring.
Just yesterday, I had pretty much the same conversation with a state game warden who works mainly in Chaffee County. Not too many "bear problems" up her way.
The Denver Post reports Front Range bears getting up to "their usual mischief," which is to say, trying to eat and live in a bear-unfriendly world.
"Since the second week of July, things went crazy," said Jennifer Churchill, a spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.Is the difference between southern and northern Colorado just the lack of Gambel oak (scrub oak), which peters out pretty quickly north of Castle Rock, roughly speaking?
And there's a simple explanation for the migration. The bears, who typically eat about 20,000 calories a day during the summer, are hungry.
A "localized food failure" in northeastern Colorado has bears "out looking hard for food," Churchill said. "We are definitely seeing bears in places we don't typically see them."
Oak brush provides cover and nesting habitat for many forms of wildlife (birds, mammals, amphibians, etc.). The foliage and acorns offer valuable food for many of these wildlife species, such as wild turkey, mule deer, and black bear. Acorns produced by the larger stands of oak brush are critical for turkey.This Post story, which skips around various Western states, has a Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist estimating our state's bear population at higher than previously thought, as many as 16,000–18,000.
It's also difficult to chart the number of dead bears. While Parks and Wildlife relocates or euthanizes scores of problem bears, the state hasn't been able to keep up a database with that information since about 2011, said Jerry Apker, the statewide carnivore manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Countless bears are killed and not recorded by local animal-control officers, law enforcement, poachers or motorists.In 2014, some 17,000 hunters harvested about 1,400 bears, an 8 percent success rate. What those numbers tell you is that many of those 17,000 bought a bear license "just in case" while they were out for deer or elk primarily.