Avoiding the bruins
Wildlife officials recommend the following checklist for residents to minimize the chance of encountering bears.• Garbage should be stored in bear-proof containers. Trash should be put out on the curb only the morning of pickup. Residents can also discourage bears by pouring half a cup of bleach into their garbage, and then rinsing containers with bleach and water after pickup.• Windows, doors and garage doors should be closed and locked when not at home. • Bird feeders (including hummingbird feeders) are discouraged. If installed, residents should suspend feeders at least 10 feet off the ground and between two posts or trees.• Pets should not be fed outside.• Barbecue grills should be cleaned with bleach solution.• All food and drink containers should be removed from cars. Even empty cans and coffee cups can attract bears.• Nut-, berry- and fruit-producing trees and shrubs should not be used in landscaping. If present, pick all fruit as it ripens and any fallen fruit.Officials also laid out what residents can do if a bear is trying to enter a home.• Using a water hose with spray nozzle, spray the bear in the face to frighten it away.• Partially fill a balloon with ammonia and then pressurize. Spread balloon with peanut butter, honey or molasses and hang by a door or window. The bear will bite into the balloon and get a spray of ammonia in the face.• Use a large squirt gun filled with ammonia and squirt the bear in the face.• Pepper spray traps can be purchased from B & B Welding in Carbondale (963-0954) or Colorado Correctional Industries (719-269-4540).• Nail boards can be placed on doorsteps and window sills.• The noise from a canned air horn usually will scare a bear away.• Rubber buckshot fired from a shotgun can be used outside of the Aspen and Snowmass city limits. Shoot the bear only in its hind quarters and no closer than 15 yards away.For more information about how to keep bears away, contact your local wildlife official. Residents in Pitkin County can call 920-5395, in Aspen 920-5267 and in Snowmass Village 923-5330.
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