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CPW: Do not leave your pumpkins out for wildlife

It is illegal to feed wildlife in Colorado and can also lead to increased human-wildlife conflicts.

DENVER — Pumpkin season is fleeting, and once you're finished carving your jack-o'-lantern it might be tempting to leave your pumpkin outside for wildlife.

A PSA posted on Instagram, that’s been liked more than 150,000 times, suggested people break up their used pumpkins to feed to wildlife instead of throwing them out.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) advises Coloradans not to feed their pumpkins to wildlife.

First, it is illegal to feed wildlife in Colorado, CPW said.

Second, leaving pumpkins out for wildlife can lead to increased human-wildlife conflicts once animals become accustomed to human food sources.

CPW received 3,130 bear reports from April 1 through Oct. 1, 2021. That number is growing as bears are now in hyperphagia, the period when bruins are preparing for hibernation and spend up to 20 hours a day on the hunt for 20,000 or more daily calories.

Most of the reports involve bears trying to access human food sources. CPW is asking residents to remove attractants, such as pumpkins, to reduce conflicts and keep you and the bears safe.

"Bears are biologically driven to pack on calories in preparation for winter, and they spend increasing time looking for the most efficient way to do so,"
said area wildlife manager Kris Middledorf.

CPW said that being “Bear Aware” means securing trash cans and Dumpsters, removing bird feeders, closing garages, cleaning and locking your car and house doors and calling CPW when bears become a nuisance.

"Residents must realize it is their responsibility to secure their trash, remove other food attractants such as bird feeders, and protect backyard livestock with appropriate electric fencing to avoid conflicts that arise from attracting bears to homes," Middledorf said.

Credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Credit: DJ Hannigan

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