BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)- It's that time of year again - bears are starting to show up in town looking for an easy meal. Colorado Parks and Wildlife once again reminding those living in bear country to be "bear aware."
In Breckenridge, Cate Siegel had one of the first encounters with a bear this spring.
"He must have just got in, went back and around got in the backseat," she said.
From the outside her, 2014 Subaru Forester looks fully intact. Inside you can see just how much damage this bear really did.
"Even left a little surprise in the backseat," she laughed.
Siegel was headed to work on Thursday morning when found both her car and the garage door were open.
"He actually... there was a garage opener in the car, must have stepped on it and opened the garage door, but luckily our trash had just been taken out," she said.
"He" is a bear.
"I assume he's not too big because he was able to get into my car and maneuver around," she said.
Tracks in the snow show the bear made its way through her neighborhood, leaving trash in a few yards and then into her car to find a sweet treat.
"Gummy bears… his own kind, I guess," she laughed.
Siegel says the candy was in a sealed bag, part of a gift basket from an event the night before.
Living in the mountains, she says they are always cautious about locking up trash and try to do the same with the doors but in this instance, she says she let her guard down.
"Lesson learned," she said.
Siegel did make a report with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, who sent out a bulletin shortly after with tips on how to avoid conflicts with bears.
- Keep garbage in a well-secured enclosure and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup; bring in empty cans back inside before dark.
- Use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. These are available online or from your trash hauler.
- Clean all garbage cans regularly to keep them odor free. The scent of ammonia can deter bears.
- Take down all bird feeders by April 15 bird feeders are a major source of bear/human conflicts. Birds don't need to be fed during the spring and summer. Hang feeders again in mid-November.
- Don't leave pet food or stock feed outside never provide food sources for any wildlife.
- Keep garage doors and windows closed and locked, especially between dusk and dawn.
- Don't leave attractants such as snacks, food wrappers, gum, or even scented hand lotions in your car; and always lock vehicle doors.
- Use bear boxes or bear-proof containers for food and scented items when camping.
- Don't leave food outside while camping. If bear boxes aren't available local all food in a vehicle.
- Review CPW's Bearproofing Your Home Fact Sheet and conduct a home audit to be sure you are not attracting bears to your property.
- Talk to your neighbors and kids about being bear aware.
- For more information about Living with Bears in Colorado, visit https://cpw.state.co.us/bears.
for more features.