Bear destroyed after third strike in residential area
SILVERTHORNE – Like a good burglar, he climbed in through an open window. Unlike other burglars, his target was all the food in the kitchen.
And, unfortunately for him, this burglar’s sentence was death.
A Leadville woman checking on her parents’ Sierra Bosque home Wednesday got a shock when she found the house in some disarray. Karen May-Carg discovered a black bear in the kitchen of her parents’ house north of Silverthorne. According to a Summit County Sheriff’s Office report, the bear had emptied the contents of the refrigerator onto the floor, breaking many of the glass shelves inside, shattered the glass top of the oven range attempting to get into overhead cupboards and littered the carpet throughout the house with broken glass, food, trash and feces.
When the bear saw May-Carg, it reportedly left in a hurry through the same window it entered. The woman told officers the window was open to allow the cats to get in and out of the house while her parents were gone.
Division of Wildlife District Wildlife Manager Tom Kroening set a trap for the bear later that night and caught it. Kroening destroyed the animal, as it was designated a problem bear.
Kroening said the bear was captured and tagged in the Grand Lake area July 29. It was relocated to the Upper Williams Fork area in Summit County. Ten days later, the bear broke into a vehicle at the Blue River Campground and shredded a tent looking for food. The Forest Service closed the campground the following weekend, at which time, Kroening suspects, it wandered into the neighborhood along Blue Ridge Road (County Road 1400).
“This is a sad demonstration of people not taking care of food and trash,” Kroening said, adding that a bird feeder likely attracted the bear to the house. “We hate to do this. The bear was just following its instincts.”
Residents have spotted bears in downtown Frisco, Warriors Mark, Boreas Pass and Keystone as recently as Thursday night. Kroening encouraged people in those areas to take precautions immediately so bears don’t learn any more bad habits.
“It’s not a matter of when they come – they’re there,” he said.
Black bear encounters surge this time of year as the animals prepare for hibernation. Bears will feed as much as 20 hours a day – some 20,000 calories – in a final smorgasbord before winter.
Kroening said conflicts with animals were relatively few this past spring, compared to the prior two years. But, those two years were above-average for bear run-ins. Kroening said the early 2002 spring meant more encounters earlier in the year, and incidents tapered off last month.
“We’ve got bears coming into every community across the county,” he said. “These are probably bears that have been learning from people the last few years.”
Blue River Mayor Darcy Lystlund said bear sightings this year have been minimal.
“We’ve got the usual supply this year,” Lystlund said. “We had one not too long ago sitting on the end of (the) deck waiting for our steaks to finish grilling.”
Blue River passed a trash ordinance following last summer’s encounters. The ordinance requires animal-proof trash containers and restricts residents from putting trash cans outside until the day of pick-up. Lystlund said the ordinance might have reduced bear run-ins this summer.
Kroening urged people to not put trash out until pick-up day, keep grills clean, refrain from feeding pets outside and take down birdfeeders at the first sign of a bear.
“And if you leave, secure the house,” he said.
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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