In the wild: Be wildlife smart |

In the wild: Be wildlife smart

The Summit Daily News

Tourists and second-home owners aren’t the only ones swarming to the high country this holiday weekend. The local hills are alive with the sound of wildlife, as critters large and small start to nest and feed, and look for safe areas to raise their young. But, warns Colorado Division of Wildlife district manager Shannon Schwab, there’s more to living in harmony with these animals than meets the eye. She advises: Don’t feed wild animals – not even chipmunks. Feeding them makes them less able to survive in natural conditions and puts them at risk when the feeding stops if they don’t know how to get their own food. Feeding coyotes and foxes and bears is dangerous for both the humans and animals, and downright illegal. The Division of Wildlife does issue citations for these violations. To avoid unintentional feeding, especially bears, make sure garbage cans, grills and birdfeeders are stowed where animals can’t get at them. Don’t put your garbage out until just before collection and use bearproof containers. Keep dogs leashed when you’re out in the woods and fields, and respect wildlife closures. Don’t handle baby animals that appear to be orphaned. Call the Division of Wildlife instead. Watch for wildlife along local highways and surface roads, especially at dawn and dusk, and reduce your speed to avoid collisions.Remember, it’s your responsibility to know what rules are in effect, so stop in at the local Forest Service ranger station before visiting public lands to inform yourself about closures or other restrictions.

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