One of the joys of living in Boulder is seeing our local wildlife in their natural environment. We catch glimpses of bears, mountain lions, coyotes, deer, elk and even moose. Yet as animals lose their fear of humans and venture into the city, there is danger for both humans and animals. Just a few simple rules make it easier to coexist.
The holiday season creates a unique issue with our beloved wildlife. If you have ever seen an elk or deer trying to get a string of holiday lights off its antlers, you realize how important it is to think about your decorations. If you live on the west side of Boulder or in the mountains, be sure to have your lights high and out of the way of known wildlife paths.
This time of year, it is even more important to keep your pets under control while hiking. As the snowpack increases, a dog chasing an animal can put undue stress on the wildlife.
Bears should all be hibernating right now, but the biggest issue with wildlife is our trash. In fact, if you live west of Broadway in Boulder, you are required to have a bear-proof container for your trash. It’s up to all of us to secure our trash so that animals don’t rely on our trash as a source of food. Even if you live east of Broadway, it is a good idea to secure your trash from other critters such as raccoons.
In general, it is never a good idea to leave food out for wildlife. People will often put food out to draw the animals in closer to be able to see them. However, leaving food out, takes the wild out of wildlife, and it actually hurts them more them helps them. Putting a salt lick out to attract deer is another activity to attract wildlife for viewing opportunities. It may seem like it would be harmless, but if you attract deer, you will also attract mountain lions that love to prey upon the deer.
Here are a few additional tips to keep our relationship with our Boulder wildlife safe:
- Secure all trash in wildlife proof containers. Don’t leave the trash out overnight.
- Don’t put food or salt licks out for wildlife.
- Make sure to compost bin has a tight lid.
- Secure pet food inside a garage or house.
- Harvest any ripe fruit from your fruit trees.
- Make sure any bird feeders/hummingbird feeders are well out of reach. Birdseed can attract deer, rodents, and coyotes that hunt rodents.
- Keep your BBQ clean and place it inside after use.
- Keep unattended pets inside.
- Make sure your car is clean and locked. Don’t leave food in it. You’ve seen bears in car videos, right?
- Address signs of damage from animals or holes where they can burrow or access your home, especially in the chimney, roof, attic, porches, and deck.
- Trim trees and maintain your yard. Squirrels can jump from trees onto your roof. Overgrown vegetation and wood piles can attract them.
- Use fencing to keep deer, racoons, and rabbits out of your garden.
- Secure your outdoor hot tub with a strong cover. Bears love a good soak when they wake up this spring!
- For more information on living safely with wildlife, visit the City of Boulder’s website at bouldercolorado.gov/wildlife.
By Duane Duggan, RE/MAX of Boulder. Duane is an award-winning Realtor and author of the book, “Realtor for Life”. He has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life. For questions, e-mail Duane at DuaneDuggan@boulderco.com, call 303.441.5611 or visit boulderco.com.