Bears in Berthoud

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

Colorado is home to a wonderful array of wildlife, including bears. Several bear encounters and sightings have happened in Berthoud over the past week and, although not the norm, it isn’t particularly unusual and makes being bear-aware while living here on the Front Range even more important.

Photo by Chris Kuber – Berthoud resident Chris Kuber had two of his three beehives destroyed west of town by what is suspected to be a resident bear.

Last Thursday the Larimer County Sheriffs Office Berthoud Squad was notified of a bear spotted near the Love’s Travel Stop on U.S. Highway 56 and Interstate 25. The day before, a Berthoud resident on Kansas Avenue discovered their car had taken on damage to the fender, bite marks and a flat tire, damage presumably done by a bear.

According to Jason Clay, a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, in addition to multiple Berthoud bear sightings there have been a couple other bear sightings north of U.S. Highway 66 in Longmont, a couple in Mead, and one by M&M Farms near I-25. He also commented there have been bear sightings in Broomfield this year. “Bears have been very active this year and we do have a thriving bear population across Colorado, particularly along the Front Range.”

There are between 8,000 and 12,000 black bears living along the foothills that are trying to share the space with an every-growing population. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, bears are intelligent and resourceful animals that spend a good amount of time looking for food. Bears that find food around homes, campgrounds and communities often lose their natural wariness of people. Although black bears are not naturally aggressive and seldom attack or injure people, they are still strong, powerful animals.

Another Berthoud resident, Chris Kuber, had his beehives raided by a hungry bear looking for a sweet treat over the weekend. Kuber, who lives west of town, off Mining Road, posted a video on social media of the aftermath he found on his property that showed fragments of the bee boxes and remnants of comb. He said he had thankfully harvested between 60 to 80 pounds of honey the day before, which the bear would have certainly tried to consume. Two of his three hives were lost. “We’ve lost bees every single winter. This was the first winter that none of our hives died,” Kuber said, while reflecting on the most recent loss. An electric fence around the remaining hive has been put up to try and dissuade the bear from returning.

For humans and bears to coexist successfully Clay had several suggestions to discourage bears to come around, “…remove any birdfeeders, only put trash out on the morning of collection, do not leave pet food outside.” He suggested Kuber’s method of utilizing electric fencing and also said ammonia-soaked rags around trash or anything else that might attract a bear to mask the scent can be effective. In addition, he suggested keeping garage doors closed, doors locked, and keep windows up in your vehicles and your home, because bears can easily break in if they smell food.

For more information about bears and being bear-aware, visit wildlife.state.co.us/bears.

If you live in Larimer County and happen to have a sick, injured or aggressive skunk, raccoon, bat, fox or coyote you should contact Animal Protection and Control at 970-226-3647 ex. 7. For other wildlife issues, including nuisances and all other injured wildlife species or orphaned wildlife, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife 970-472-4300, for help after business hours contact the Colorado State Patrol 303-239-4501.

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