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Bear Season Tips from Vail Police

  • 23 May 2016
Bear Season Tips from Vail Police

Residents are being asked to be diligent about keeping their garbage stored properly now that bear season is underway. The Vail Police Department’s first bear reports of the season have been recorded with activity on Cortina Lane in West Vail and inside the Vail Village parking structure. Both calls were taken on May 15.

Over the next few weeks, the Vail Police Department will be increasing enforcement of existing year-round ordinances to deter bears from accessing easy-to-find food sources. Since 2007 all curbside trash customers in Vail have been required to use wildlife-resistant containers. In addition, commercial establishments, multi-family complexes and construction sites are required to use enclosures and/or wildlife-proof containers. Also, the placement of curbside containers is restricted to the assigned pick up day and only during daylight hours under provisions of the dawn to dusk ordinance.

In 2015, Vail police issued 141 warnings and no citations for wildlife related violations. For 2016, as of May 23, there have been 62 warnings and no citations. Residents are reminded that bear-resistant containers are compliant only if they are closed and latched properly. For example, if a container has two latches and only one is latched, it is not bear-resistant and a summons will be issued.

Residents also are reminded to avoid overstuffing their containers or placing food-related garbage next to the container. Also, an address must be listed on the can to meet provisions of the town’s wildlife protection ordinance. Recyclable material that contained food must be in a wildlife-resistant container. 

To avoid bear conflicts at a residence or business the Vail Police Department offers these tips:

  • Never store garbage, recyclables, or pet food on porches.
  • Keep barbeque grills and outdoor furniture clean.
  • Keep bird feeders out of reach of wildlife and bring them in at night.
  • Keep ground-floor windows and doors closed and locked.

Mountain Lion Alert
Spring is an active time for all wildlife. Mountain lions will follow the herds of deer and elk as they migrate through the area. Compliance with the Town of Vail Wildlife Ordinance can mitigate potential conflicts with mountain lions as well as bears. Community members play an important role in maintaining an urban interface free from food attractants.

If you have an encounter with a lion or an attack occurs, immediately call 9-1-1. To report a sighting, please contact the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife during normal business hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 303-297-1192. Your information is very valuable to their efforts.

For more information, call the police department at 970-479-2200 or visit the town’s website at



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