Bear activity up; 2 calves reportedly killed by predator in Northwest Colorado

— Police and wildlife officials have noticed an uptick in the number of bears who have regained their appetites following hibernation.

Tipped over garbage cans on Steamboat Springs streets have once again become common, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manager Jim Haskins.

“We’re still trying to remind people to keep their trash secure,” Haskins said.

Bear problems mainly have consisted of bears getting into trash, but Haskins said there was one report of a bear getting into a woman’s home on Steamboat Boulevard.

When bears start to become active within the city, Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Scott Middleton said officers increase their educational efforts aimed at residents who are not careful with their trash. If problems persist, officers will issue written warnings and then tickets to residents for not properly securing their trash.

Wildlife officers are particularly concerned about yearling black bears that learned bad eating habits from their mothers last summer. Nuisance bear activity last summer was especially prevalent in the Fish Creek Falls Road area near Steamboat Boulevard and Blue Sage Drive.

2 calves killed in South Routt County

Wildlife officers are investigating whether a mountain lion is to blame for the death of two calves in South Routt County. The incident in the 20300 block of Third Avenue in Phippsburg was reported Thursday morning.

At this point, Haskins said officers could not tell whether the calves had been killed by a mountain lion or perhaps a coyote. Bears also are known to sometimes prey on calves.

Haskins said each year his office handles two or three cases of calves that are killed by predators, and those attacks often occur in South Routt. Livestock owners can ask the state to pay for the cost of their killed animals.

Haskins said a hound was being brought in to see whether it could pick up a mountain lion scent in the area where the calves were killed. There were other cows in the area, so investigators were unable to find any tracks from the predator. No scat could be found in the area either.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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