Early Saturday morning, a Steamboat Springs homeowner shot and killed a bear after it entered the home overnight.
It happened around 2 a.m. Saturday on the north side of town. Colorado Parks and Wildlife said the nearly 400-pound bear entered the home through an unlocked door with a lever handle. The bear found dog food, and the commotion of his unwelcome visit woke up one of the owners.
“She discovered the male bear, screamed, alerting her husband,” said CPW’s Rachael Gonzales.
Husband Ken Mauldin told Steamboat Radio what happened next:
“When I went to my bedroom door, I saw the bear about 10 feet away and shot him instantly with a 40 caliber semi-automatic handgun,” Mauldin said. “Then the bear charged at me. I kept shooting at it as fast as I could. The bullet hole in the ground suggested the bear had moved about five to six feet away from me when it backed up, reversed direction and crashed through the railing of the banister onto the stairs, where he collapsed at the bottom of the stairs,” Mauldin recounted.
The large bear was killed and wildlife officers removed it from the house.
“It’s within their legal rights to do so if they feel threatened by the bear,” Gonzales said of the owner’s actions.
Gonzales told CBS News Colorado there was no indication the big bear had been in homes before, but all bears are looking for food to fatten up for the winter.
“Whenever the bears are awake, they’ll go for the easiest food to get to. Maybe our trash cans are out, maybe we have food in a garage that a bear can get into. That going to attract them because it’s easy,” Gonzales said.
With natural food being scarce in the wild right now, Gonzales said it’s not uncommon for animals to find their way into the city limits. All the more reason for humans to do their part to prevent bear encounters.
“If you have doors, downstairs windows, or patios that bears can easily wander onto, make sure they’re closed and locked, especially at night,” Gonzales explained.
Tidying up bird feeders and using bear-proof trash cans are also recommended.
“Every situation is different, but you can be cited for having attractants like garbage. Places like Steamboat also have city ordinances, so learning those laws is really important,” Gonzales said.
Find out how CPW suggests we can be bear aware.