Bear sighted in downtown Delta

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DELTA, Colo. (KKCO) -- No doubt, there’s been an unusually high sighting of bears this summer, the most recent one being Thursday. This time it wasn’t on the road or in someone’s backyard.

“I looked up in the tree and there’s a big old bear sitting in the tree,” said Bregan Hamilton, a Delta resident who saw the bear.

Unfortunately, bears wandering into Western Slope town and cities have happened far too often.

“We’ve had a lot of bears down in Delta having to be put down because there’s not enough food on the mountains,” said Hamilton.

And the reason for the visits, it’s simple.

“Bears are very active right now because they’re preparing for hibernation,” said Mike Porras, with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Thursday's bear was wandering in downtown Delta.

“I think it was a full-grown bear, he was just sitting like a person, sitting against the branch,” said Maria Hernandez, a Delta resident who saw the bear.

Most of the time, the bear is scoping out its next snack.

“They’re eating constantly, almost constantly,” said Porras.

While some people are stopping for a photo op of the creature, you should steer clear.

“There were people standing on the corner, standing around, looking at it in amazement,” said Hamilton.

The best thing to do is scare off the animal.

“Never let a bear feel comfortable around people, never feed it, never let it find food in your trash can, in your bird feeder,” said Porras. “Bang pots and pans, yell at it, you don’t want it in your backyard.”

Bears usually come back because of human behaviors making the animal think it is okay.

“Secure those food sources, the trash, pick up fruit, avoid using bird feeders this time of year,” said Porras.

Bears will head into hibernation soon, but until then keep an eye out for spots you might not expect an animal sighting.

“On the sides of the roads, on the roads, animals are active especially at dusk and dawn,” said Porras.

According to State Farm, you have a one in 253 chance of hitting a large animal while driving in Colorado.

“So if you’re driving down the road, scan the roadside, involve other passengers in the vehicle with making sure they can see wildlife before they surprise you, before they jump out,” said Porras.

Hibernation depends on the weather, but most bears start getting in their dens by mid-October and are settled by mid-December. Again, weather dependent, they will stay in dens until early spring.

The Delta bear was in the tree for most of the day. Officials said they couldn’t get it down because of all the people standing around, it wouldn’t have been safe.

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