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What to Do if You See a Bear

As summer approaches, it's not just humans who are excited to shake off the winter months and get out in the sun. Bears have come out of hibernation and more than one has already been spotted in Boulder. 

Here are a few tips for being bear aware this summer.

  • If you see a bear, stay calm. Don’t run – the bear may chase you.
  • Make yourself look large and back away. Give the bear room to leave.
  • Never throw food to distract a bear. This teaches the bear to approach people for food.
  • Bear-proof your backyard. Once a bear finds food, it will come back for more.
  • If you see a bear in your backyard, make lots of noise. Make sure the bear has a clear escape path.
  • Report sightings at 303-441-3440. Call 911 if it’s an emergency.

Community members should also be aware that livestock can attract bears. In the past two years, there has been an increase in the number of goats preyed upon by bears. Please keep goats, chickens and bees in secure, safe locations that are protected from bears. 

One of the best steps community members can take is to be vigilant and ensure trash containers are locked, per city ordinance. Bears that are drawn to town by available food are more likely to stay. 

Bears in the city are at risk of being hit by vehicles, being electrocuted on power poles, ingesting chemicals and losing their natural fear of people, which may end up getting them killed by wildlife officers to protect public safety.

The city requires bear-resistant containers west of Broadway and south of Sumac Avenue, and everywhere in the city if trash and compost are put out the night before pickup. Containers must be in working conditions. 

Western Disposal customers may call 303-444-2037 and request a replacement cart if their container is broken; carts are generally replaced within 24 hours. If you are a One-Way Trash or Republic customer and your purchased your cart, you are responsible for the repairs or replacement. 

With increased bear activity reported east of Broadway in recent years, particularly north of Alpine Avenue and west of 30th street, community members are encouraged to use bear-resistant containers and may contact their waste hauler for a bear-resistent cart. 

To learn more about co-existing with bears, visit

Published: May 31, 2019