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Bear killed after scratching Montezuma County resident

Juvenile bear trying to reach dog food
A black bear with a silver-colored back climbs the rocks above the Dolores River.

A problem bear was euthanized Friday northwest of Cortez after it scratched a homeowner, reported Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

In a brazen effort to reach dog food, the juvenile bear reportedly entered a kennel occupied by dogs at a residence on County Road 21 around 11 a.m.

“The homeowner attempted to pull out the dogs and the bear swiped, causing a minor scratch on her arm,” said CPW wildlife manager Matt Thorpe.

The victim refused medical transport, and the wound was treated.

The bear was tracked by wildlife officers and was shot nearby shortly after the incident. Wildlife that injure humans are typically euthanized according to CPW protocol, Thorpe said.

“I don’t consider this a true attack, but for public safety, we euthanized the bear to get it tested for disease,” he said.

The commotion probably caused the bear to swipe in an effort to defend its dog food find. The bear appeared healthy, and the state lab reported a low level of concern for disease.

Wildlife officers have been trying to trap the bear, but without success. It had recently killed some chickens at another house, and had been hitting up the same two or three homes regularly.

Thorpe said juvenile bears tend to get into the most trouble, because once they’re on their own, they don’t have their own territory yet.

“They can get pushed into marginal habitat and are trying to survive,” he said. “They’re like teenagers who just graduated, trying to find their way in a larger world.”

Bears are awake and active, so be bear aware, Thorpe added. When working outside in rural areas, consider how your actions might attract wildlife. Keep dog food inside, and recognize that barbecues and bird feeders attract unwanted wildlife.

When bears are too close to homes, make a commotion to dissuade them so they learn to avoid humans.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com

Oct 18, 2021
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