Colorado Springs, Colo. - It's barely believable for most people, but we've had more and more bear sightings here in the Springs.
Jamie Gibson sent a picture of a bear in her trash just outside her mom's house. Her mother, Maggie Johnson clearly is no stranger to bears and they're no strangers to her.
"We had one bear named "old man." and he came for 5 years before he died," said Johnson.
She's lived in a mobile home along highway 115 for 17 years. For Maggie, bears are almost like seeing deer in the neighborhood.
"Usually we can stand on the porch and the trash can was at the end of the porch. And he would come up and get into the trash can and I'd walk out and talk to him," said Johnson.
That's not your typical meet and greet for most bear spotters. Colorado parks and wildlife officers recommend you take this route.
"Make sure that you don't approach it. Don't ever run away from it or anything like that. Just back away slowly, don't turn your back on it and leave the area," said Sabrina Hurwitz, District Wildlife Manager.
Johnson's daughter, Gibson, snapped a picture of the bear standing right at the trash at the end of the driveway, but most of the time, they've seen bears right outside their door. Bears though, aren't their biggest fear.
"We worry about the mountain lions. And we have had mountain lions in the area," said Johnson.
But why are so many of us spotting bears lately? Hurwitz says the fires made an impact, but it's *mostly* because they're more active in the summer and looking for food. Just remember Johnson's number one lesson.
"Leave them alone," she said.
If you do see a bear, Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants you to give them a call at: 719-227-5200. Wildlife officers recommend you educate yourself as best you can with wildlife by visiting www.wildlife.state.co.us