SCOTT CONDON
pitkin county correspondent

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August 2, 2007
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DOW kills 'off the charts' Aspen bear

ASPEN " An unusually large black bear topping 425 pounds was killed by Colorado Division of Wildlife officers Wednesday after it was trapped for busting through windows to enter an east Aspen house.

Wildlife officers said they had no choice but to euthanize the bruin because it physically smashed into the house rather than entered through an unsecured window or door.

When a bear gets into a house through an open window, it is tagged and relocated if it is caught, said area wildlife manager Perry Will. Tagged bears get two strikes before they are killed. In this case, there were no second chances because of the bear's potential for causing harm.

The bear invaded a home on Northway Drive near Aspen Grove Cemetery on Sunday. A trap was baited with food Monday and the bear was caught Tuesday night. It was hauled to Carbondale in the wire-cage trap Wednesday morning and taken to the wildlife division's storage yard one mile south of Carbondale.

Will, the top wildlife division official in the area, and two wildlife officers had the grim task of tranquilizing the bear, then injecting it with a fatal mixture of potassium chloride.

"We didn't get into this business because we hate wildlife," Will said.

The wildlife officer stressed that the owner of the home that the bear broke into didn't do anything wrong. And that's the problem: Numerous Aspen-area residents take precautions to prevent bears from getting food, but the lack of action by others can habituate the animals. Bears learn to associate homes with food.

The examination of the dead bear indicated he was "off the charts" for size. He had a girth of 52 inches around the midsection " higher than a DOW chart for determining weight. The best guess was he weighed 425 to 450 pounds.

He measured 80 inches from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. His massive hind paws were 6 by 8 inches.

Scarring of old injuries was apparent on his neck and shoulders. Fresher cuts apparently occurred when he crashed through the Northway Drive windows.


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The Summit Daily Updated Aug 2, 2007 10:36AM Published Aug 2, 2007 10:36AM Copyright 2007 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.