View Full Version : Colorado Bear Encounters on the Rise?

August 11, 2009, 05:06 PM
What is it with the bear encounters in Colorado this year? This seems like an abnormally high number of encounters over the last 4 months. Or am I just ill-informed about Colorado's bear problems?

It seems that too many bears are losing their fear of man. Or in the case of the woman killed by the bear, a case of "Darwinism".

When I've gone into bear country, the caliber handgun I'll take is a .41 Magnum. It'll work well for most critters, even a 275 lb Grizzly sow (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=369326&highlight=colorado+bear).

August 11, 2009: Bear Browses Through Aspen Fur Shop
August 10, 2009: Autopsy: Woman attacked, killed by bear (http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/20348401/detail.html)
August 8, 2009: Necropsy Inconclusive On Whether Bear Killed Woman
August 7, 2009: DOW Agents Find Bear Devouring Elderly Woman
August 6, 2009: Charges Filed Against Man Who Killed Bear In Steamboat
August 1, 2009: Steamboat Springs Man Explains Why He Shot Bear
July 28, 2009: Bear Breaks Into Home, Terrorizes Family (http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/20191447/detail.html)
July 26, 2009: Bear Burglar Keeps Coming Back
July 22, 2009: Bear Ransacks Aspen TV Station Office
July 21, 2009: Bear Illegally Shot In Downtown Steamboat Springs
July 20, 2009: Former Anchor's Cookies Attract Second Bear
July 17, 2009: Bear Suspected Of Killing 8 Pueblo Farm Animals
July 8, 2009: Boulder Man Watching TV Didn't Know Bear Was Inside House
July 8, 2009: Pepsi-Craving Bear Breaks Into Beaver Creek Bar
June 26, 2009: Bouncing Bear Breaks Trampoline
June 17, 2009: Bear Enters House Near Granby, Eats Pet's Food
June 13, 2009: Bear Shot Inside Colorado Springs Home
June 4, 2009: Bear Spotted In Colorado Springs Park
May 18, 2009: Bear Trashes Car
May 14, 2009: Bear Sighting Stops Traffic, Locks Down Schools
May 13, 2009: DOW Tracks Bear Near Highlands Ranch
April 28, 2009: Bear Concerns Force Camping Changes At RMNP
April 24, 2009: Pregnant Woman Running From Bear Hit By Car

August 11, 2009, 05:46 PM
Some years ago, Colorado banned the use of baits and dogs for hunting bears.

Those are the two primary ways to successfully hunt bears, so hunters are killing less of them...and there are likely less bear hunters that are serious about it, as well.

Less pressure on the bears means less fear by them of man. Less fear means more encounters, and it's about as simple as that.

My MIL lives in the mountains west of Pueblo, and she's had problems with bears as well. She didn't bother reporting them, mostly because it would do no good. She came home to a torn up screen on a kitchen window, and the siding messed up on the side of her home. There's a creek that runs through the edge of her property, and the bears follow the creek for food.

My wife and I got married there 4 years ago the 20th of this month. The night before we were married, a large bear came through the property across the creek. I've seen several bears in that area, and my wife tells me of seeing something like 30 of them within a short distance of her mom's home in one day during a dry year some years back.

And she has pictures of a bunch of them, including several in her yard.

In the 4 1/2 years I've known my wife, I've seen about as many or more bears during our visits to Colorado than I've seen in Arizona in my entire life.

If the Colorado DOW really wanted to solve the bear-encounter issue, they'd legalize baiting again and tell the liberals to go kiss a bear's behind.


August 11, 2009, 06:10 PM
Several things in play. I agree with Darryl, in that changing hunting regs plays a part. Oregon had a banner year for bear encounters.

Other things to factor are suburb expansion and the amount of reporting on each incident.

I would guess that someone who retires from an urban area (I was going to single out SoCal, but it could be anywhere) and buys their little rustic get-away is going to call in a bear sighting that some of us hicks might just ignore. So it gets called in, then the "News" picks up on it. Seems like there are more bears...

Not saying my analysis would stand up to scientific scrutiny, but I will stand by multiple factors coming in to play.

August 11, 2009, 09:13 PM
Most of us here just try to avoid them. Last few years we have a few living inside the city limits of our small town. Kids actually started chasing them on their bicycles. This year we had an injured bear living in a neighbors tree for a couple days till the fish and game had to put it down. As he was being watched a mountain lion actually walked through the yard. My neighbor has had a bear breaking into his garage to get his garbage, the fish and game had to trap it and remove it to a more remote location. Alot of joggers are actually packing iron these days. So yes we have a real bear problem these days.

August 12, 2009, 02:32 AM
I would guess that someone who retires from an urban area (I was going to single out SoCal, but it could be anywhere) and buys their little rustic get-away is going to call in a bear sighting that some of us hicks might just ignore. So it gets called in, then the "News" picks up on it. Seems like there are more bears...
It doesn't seem to be mere sightings of bears on the increase, but the number of bear intrusions into human areas - stores, bars, homes, and in "downtown" areas.

I was in Steamboat, Ouray, Silverton, Durango and a few other towns in the early 80's. No problems with bears at all in those places. In fact, we camped outside of Ouray and the only wildlife that wandered by was a skunk who was after a banana (which we let him have, of course). No one in any of those towns mentioned bears as a problem - even when we asked about wildlife issues.

It just seems to me that there's a much bigger problem than I recall -- or that some folk from Colorado who have moved here recall.

August 12, 2009, 08:50 AM
Not only is not being able to bait or use hounds a problem but so is the lack of a spring bear season. I remember in the 80’s poster circulating showing two cubs saying please don’t kill my mommy, supporting the ban on the spring hunting season. I remember the hunters didn’t think this had a chance of being banned and really didn’t fight it, which was very unfortunate for us now.

We have more problems with bears here in Colorado Springs in the early spring with hungry bears looking to find an easy meal in a trash cans and dumpsters. I remember when I first moved to here in the 90’s I lived in a trailer park on the side of Cheyenne Mountain and we had bears show up every night before trash pickup, you would see garbage cans strewn throughout the park. I built a cage to protect my trash that the bear could have easily taken down if there were not easier targets in the park. By mid summer the bears pretty much went back up the mountain for better tasting foods.

The biggest problem especially with the woman most recently killed here in Colorado, they forget to respect the bears. People think that they are cute and cuddly and look harmless. However they are a very powerful animal that can move very fast and have very large claws and teeth, and while you don’t need to fear them you must respect them for what they are.

Old Grump
August 12, 2009, 09:38 AM
1. Liberals moving in
2. Hunting discouraged in every way possible
3. Idiots who received their animal husbandry lessons from Walt Disney and were or are great fans of Yogi Bear

= Trouble with wildlife.

August 12, 2009, 10:47 AM
It's Colorado. We have bears. We have always had bears. That is the way it is.

Old Grump
August 12, 2009, 08:59 PM
Got them here in Wisconsin to and its not a problem for those of us who grew up around them but you get the big city folk and out of staters moving in and they think the woods is like the parks and arboretums back home and everything is so cute. Then everybody has a problem.

August 12, 2009, 10:40 PM
It doesn't seem to be mere sightings of bears on the increase, but the number of bear intrusions into human areas - stores, bars, homes, and in "downtown" areas. Ok, so what's the latest "A bear walks into a bar..." joke? It's been a while since I heard a new one. :D

I'm going to need to get a bigger freezer. My resources tell me bear is quite tasty and the wifey wants more different kinds of meat on the table.

August 13, 2009, 09:21 AM
Here's something for a GREAT laugh about this very subject. http://probablybadnews.com/ :D

August 13, 2009, 10:23 AM
That is a riot!

August 13, 2009, 12:53 PM
I don't think it's so much ending hunting with gogs or over bait as much as it is increased human encroachment on bear habitat.

There was a thread last year that indicated (in Washington state) that after a brief lull bear harvest was back up to the levels it was when baiting and hounds was legal.
I would suspect that was true of Oregon as well.

Most of the increase in bear/human encounters seemed to be because people were more likely to report them.


Evan Thomas
August 13, 2009, 02:37 PM
If bear encounters are up a lot from last year, weather patterns may have a bit to do with it as well. I dunno about CO specifically, but it's been an unusually cold spring and summer everywhere north-ish that I do know about. When I've talked with rangers about this in the past, they've said that this means less food for bears in the wild (berries don't ripen, etc.), so that they go to human-occupied areas where there is food: in a park, they're more apt to come into the campgrounds, and outside, they're more likely to turn up at the dump, and so on....

August 13, 2009, 04:18 PM
... that made me laugh. The rabbit, in particular. Did anybody else think he sounded like Norm MacDonald?

Funny, though, how people who probably moved near the woods because they "love" animals, and who are probably anti-hunting, come unglued at the thought of a black bear in the woods by their neighborhood...