Black bear activity has picked up in and around Aspen in recent days, according to Aspen Police Department wildlife enforcement officer Dan Glidden.
A bear was lurking in the Hunter Creek Condos area Monday afternoon and entered a unit through an open window on the creek side of Building 12, he said. The bear took a package of hamburger buns and a peach before leaving.
Another bear got into a house Monday night at Smuggler Park Subdivison, he said. Police used bean-bag rounds to prompt the bear to move out of the house and it left, Glidden said.
“Both bears had been tagged previously, so this is not a good sign,” he said.
The tagging reference relates to Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s “two-strikes-and-you’re-out” policy on bears. Bruins that return to the city or residential areas after having been tagged once run the risk of being put down, according to the state wildlife department.
Glidden said two other bear calls originated from residents on McSkimming Road and Gibson Avenue. In those cases, the bears did not enter homes, but lurked nearby.
“Three out of four of my calls involved doors and windows left open,” Glidden said. “It’s hot, and some people are leaving their doors and windows open to get a cool breeze, and that’s a welcome invitation to the bears.”
Glidden said in the past few days he has had to issue $250 citations to both Steakhouse No. 316 on East Hopkins Avenue and Hickory House restaurant on Main Street because of unsecured garbage containers.
He said every restaurant already has had a warning.
“I went two weeks ago to each downtown eatery and gave them a pamphlet, warning them to lock their dumpsters and make sure their containers were secure,” he said. “I covered the entire area; 57 businesses.”
Bears also have been roaming through the West End residential area, Glidden said. They turned over a dozen garbage containers on Monday night.
“They were all locked and secure,” he said. “I could care less if the bears stacked them or rolled them down the alley, as long as they are approved containers and secure.”
Businesses and residents using and securing approved bear-resistant or bear-proof trash and garbage containers cannot be fined by the city if bears attempt to wreak havoc with them, Glidden explained.
For more information about local laws concerning bears or bear-resistant containers, visit the following web link: www.aspenpitkin.com/Departments/Police/Aspen-Bears/.