Elk NetworkBlack Bear Euthanized after Breaking into Colorado House, Attacking Homeowner

Gear 101 | July 14, 2020

Below is a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The bear involved in the attack on an Aspen homeowner has been euthanized following a short pursuit by wildlife managers. Evidence has been collected from the bear and from the scene of the attack and will be forensically examined to scientifically confirm the bear’s involvement.

“Based on the direct and clear trail that tracking dogs quickly followed, along with the physical description of the bear from witnesses, we’re certain that we got the offending animal,” said Matt Yamashita, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Area Wildlife Manager, who oversaw the response operation. “We never like to have to put an animal down but the protection of the public is paramount once a bear begins entering homes and responding aggressively toward people.”

The incident began about 1:30 a.m. (7/10/2020) when a homeowner went to check on noises in his home. He encountered a bear in the living area of the home. The bear swiped at the man, striking him in the side of the face and causing severe lacerations to the head, face, and neck. The bear fled the house.

The victim was transported to an Aspen area hospital and then transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. The injuries are severe but not life-threatening. The victim was able to provide some information to wildlife officers at the hospital. No further information on the victim’s condition is available from CPW.

The bear matches the description of a bear that has been frequenting the Castle Creek neighborhood for several days. It may also be the same bear that has been reported for getting into trash in the area for the past couple of years. Past attempts to haze or trap and relocate the bear have been unsuccessful.

This is the first bear attack in Aspen this year. In 2019, wildlife officers responded to three bear-human attacks in the Aspen area. Those attacks all occurred in outdoor settings.

“This is a good time to remind everyone who lives in bear country that they need to be vigilant and responsible,” Yamashita concluded. “Proper management of trash and recycling is the first step to keeping bears away from neighborhoods. Locking doors and windows and keeping cars locked is also important.”

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)