All of Colorado, including Crested Butte, has been experiencing more bear sightings and confrontations than usual this summer. There has been 1 death of a woman near Ouray who insisted on feeding the bears, despite cease and desist orders from the DOW and likely any neighbors with any common sense. The inevitable occurred: the bears not only bit the hands that fed them, but ate them too. Upon seeing a bear in our yard in Crested Butte the other night, my 8-year old described it as huge, furry and cute. A very accurate description, but one that belies the danger caused by such furry, cute and amazingly powerful creatures. I can see where human nature would cause some people to feed the bears, wanting them to survive and boost their caloric intake before hibernation. But thinking the situation through just a little more, one would presumably be less interested in having a 300 lb. plus bruin, and its furry brethren begging for treats like a dog outside one's back door. The situation in town has gotten to a point where the local police are trapping and killing the bears because of the lack of safety and disinterest in more close encounters .They got one last week that weighed well over 500 pounds and had been entering homes. The bears have also broken into over 75 cars locally so far this year and when spotted, evince an extreme lack of concern. Last week my neighbor scared a bear terrifically by throwing a firecracker at it. It ran up a tree in my yard and growled for a time, the only time I have heard one at all worried about humans. But maybe it wasn''t the human he was worried about, just the pyrotechnics. We have mandatory use of bear proof garbage cans in town, but there is some debate whether they really help. They cut off the food supply (until the bear learns to open the can by jumping on it) and seem to make the bears even more desperate. Many people still leave garbage or foodstuffs outside or in a garage (that the bears can now open). It's a shame that the bears are now being killed, but if we continue to deliberately or inadvertantly feed the bears, mother nature will inevitably win.
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