Bears burden New Castle | PostIndependent.com

Bears burden New Castle

Heidi Rice

Bear sightings in New Castle in the past couple of months have prompted town officials to warn citizens about what to do in case of a bear encounter and how to prevent them from happening.The most recent bear sighting occurred in the Castle Valley Ranch subdivision in early September when a resident on Buckthorn Drive discovered a black bear in her garage one evening, eating the cat food.”She reported it to the police, and they came and tried to find it, but it made its way back to the hills,” said town clerk Lisa Cain.The bear, reportedly about 300 pounds, also made its way into other garages up and down the street.Because of the long Labor Day weekend and the delay in town garbage pickup, many residents had left their trash outside, where it remained for a couple of days.”I’ll bet anything that bear was attracted by the garbage,” Cain said.A previous bear presence was reported last month when a resident on East Avenue reported finding bear droppings underneath a peach tree on her property.No damage to humans or property was reported as a result of the bears.And while not common, bears have been known to come into residential areas of New Castle in the past.”The last one I remember was about four years ago when one was on Burning Mountain Avenue,” said New Castle Police Chief Chris Sadler. “We ended up following it until it left.”Sadler said bears may come around if garbage or pet food is left outside or in an open garage.”Garbage is a really bad thing,” Sadler said. “A lot of garages are left open that have trash, dog and cat food in them. If you must store these in the garage, keep the door closed. And don’t leave your garbage out overnight, take it out for pick up first thing in the morning.”Sadler also warns that if a bear is spotted, residents should not go out for a curious glimpse of the animal, but stay safely indoors.The Colorado Division of Wildlife also recommends that residents keep garbage, bird feeders and pet food in a place not accessible to curious, hungry bears.”Most conflicts between bears and people are linked to careless handling of food or garbage,” an educational pamphlet from the DOW warns. “Don’t let your carelessness cause the unnecessary death of a bear. Learn to live responsibly with wildlife.”According to the DOW, black bears will eat almost anything, including human food, garbage, humingbird food and pet and livestock food when available.”Once a bear has found the easily accessible, consistent food source that human settlements can offer, it may overcome its wariness of people and visit regularly,” the pamphlet says.Besides keeping food and garbage out of the reach and smell of bears, the DOW recommends using bear-proof trash containers and to empty their garbage cans regularly – periodically cleaning them with hot water and bleach to eliminate any lingering odors.For more information or to report a bear siting, please call the New Castle Police Department at 984-2302.For more information or to report a bear siting, please call the New Castle Police Department at 984-2302.


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