COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Encounters between bears and humans continue throughout southern Colorado; a common theme this time of the year in Colorado bear country.

“Bears are in hyperphagia which means they are eating about 20 hours a day,” said Assistant Area Wildlife Manager, Tim Kroening. ”They are trying to consume 20,000 to pack on all that extra weight.”

With hibernation right around the corner, now is the time to be bear aware, since bears tend to become more aggressive while on the prowl for food.

“This time of year, our bears are going to be more active than any other time of the year,” said Kroening.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the best way to keep you and bears safe is bear proofing your home.

Some of those tips include making sure your trash is in a secure location, clean out dumpsters regularly, and be sure to use a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster.

“They can smell up to five miles if conditions are right, they have an amazing nose, better than a bloodhound,” said Kroening.

Nearly two years ago, CPW found several items inside the stomachs of several bears throughout the state.

“We have had bears die from eating trash–whether it’s a blockage in their throat from plastic bags and skewer puncture their pancreas before,” said Kroening.

CPW says situations like this can all be prevented, and that violators will be issued warnings and could face additional fines if the problem continues.

“It’s up to us as Coloradans we are living in bear habitat and we also have to do our responsibly attractants are secured so our wildlife stays wild,” said Kroening.

To learn more about bears and other wildlife in Colorado, visit this website.