DOW kills coyote on ski run at Copper
February 12, 2008
COPPER MOUNTAIN ” Division of Wildlife officers shot and killed a coyote on a ski run Saturday after it nipped at skiers at Copper Mountain.
After skiers reported the animal came out the woods and tried to bite someone’s ski boot, Division of Wildlife (DOW) officers were called into assist, according to Copper Mountain spokesperson Lauren Pelletreau. Ski Patrol quickly shut down the area and Wildlife officers, armed with a rifle, shot and removed the animal.
“We made plans to go in and take care of it on Sunday night,” said DOW spokesperson Randy Hampton, who explained the agency had first been alerted about the coyote on the Wednesday before. “The aggressive behavior escalated by Saturday morning. … One person told us it got a hold of a ski jacket. The aggression had risen to the level that we had to intervene a little sooner.”
Hampton said the officers could not wait until the ski area closed because they were afraid the animal might attack someone. And, once it gets dark, the animal would be impossible to find, he said.
“At ski areas, this is fairly uncommon,” Hampton said, adding that in his department’s experience, this was the only such case in at least the last five years,. “Coyotes are one of the most adaptive species out there. They’re in the deserts, in downtown Chicago, downtown L.A., and in the mountains of Colorado.”
The coyote will be tested for disease, which could be completed by the end of this week. Hampton said the coyote was young and acted like it had lost its fear of people, most likely because some were feeding it.