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Summit County Wildlife Safety

Published: June 13, 2015

wildlife safety

The summers in Summit County are breathtaking with incredible landscape and wildlife views, yet to thoroughly enjoy your surroundings, its important to have a couple wildlife safety tips up your sleeve! Numerous bear sightings have been reported around the town of Silverthorne this last month, as these large mammals begin to make their way into local towns in search of food. No reports have been filed regarding bears in Breckenridge yet this year, but it is only a matter of time before they make their move!

Bears are extremely smart animals, often returning to locations where they have found food repeatedly. Colorado inflicts a two-strike policy for bears that are digging through local trash and on the second offense the bear will be euthanized. The more human contact a bear has, the more comfortable, as well as dangerous, the animal becomes.

In order to prevent endangering surrounding wildlife, practice wildlife safety maneuvers routinely. Purchase bear-proof trash containers for your home. Travel with bear-proof containers for extra food while camping or place leftovers within a locked car. Place bird feeders at second story levels, as the simplest amount of food will attract surrounding wildlife.

If you happen to run into a bear outside of your home or while out hiking, Joe Lewandowski of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department says, “You can put your arms up, make yourself look big and most times that bear will run off. They don’t like seeing us really any more than we like seeing them.”

Often times overlooked as a threat, the moose population in Colorado can be much more aggressive than the average bear. There are almost 1,000 moose located statewide and adults weigh in between 800 to 1,200 pounds.  Wolves are natural predators to the moose population.  Oftentimes, moose may misinterpret a barking, pet dog as a wolf, driving protective instincts.  It important to recall wildlife safety procedures when hiking with your canine companions.  Keep dogs on a leash or in close proximity so that they can be easily controlled in case of a run-in with a moose.

For more wildlife safety procedures, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at


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