Bear hit by vehicle on midvalley stretch of Highway 82 put down |

Bear hit by vehicle on midvalley stretch of Highway 82 put down

A black bear hangs out on a tree in Colorado.
File photo

A Colorado State Patrol officer put down a black bear on Thursday morning after it was struck by a vehicle on a midvalley stretch of Highway 82, officials said.

The bear was a yearling male, or maybe older, according to a spokesman with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  A CSP officer responding to the accident, which happened at around milepost 18, “went ahead and put the bear down for humane reasons, as the bear was not going to survive its injuries,” said CPW spokesman John Livingston in an email.

Highway 82 from Glenwood Springs to milepost 50, which is five miles above the Difficult Campground outside of Aspen, saw 107 roadkill incidents in 2021, 105 in 2020, and 183 in 2019, according to roadkill data from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

In just one of those years, 2019, was a bear recorded as roadkill on Highway 82. The bear was struck between mileposts 10 and 20, according to CDOT.

Piktin, Garfield and Eagle counties are part of CDOT’s Region 3 covering northwest Colorado. Of the 1,691 wildlife fatalities resulting from vehicle collisions in 2021, 16 were black bears, 13 of which were killed on Interstate 70, CDOT data shows. In that same region, 1,162 deer, 140 elk and 235 skunks were counted among the roadkill victims last year.

“Roadkill mortalities are high during years of natural food failures when bears must range more widely in search of food and, therefore, encounter roads and vehicles more frequently,” according to Black Bear Population Management Plan released by CPW in 2021.

CPW collects bear roadkill, but that wasn’t the case this week on Highway 82. Instead, a licensed bear hunter who was passing by — the state’s rifle and archery season runs Sept. 2 through Sept. 30 — received CPW’s permission to take the dead animal, Livingston said. By taking the bear, the hunter met the season limit.

“Sometime shortly after, a hunter stopped by and saw the bear on the side of the road and called the CPW office and requested to put a tag on it before our staff could go pick it up. This hunter had a license for a bear this year and decided to take that bear as his bear for the year,” Livingston said.

The hunter is required to have the bear examined by CPW.

“The hunter will bring the bear to our Glenwood Springs office to go through the mandatory check process,” Livingston said. “Any hunter who harvests a bear is required to do that.”

Information on the make and model of the vehicle involved and whether any of its occupants were hurt was not immediately available from the state patrol Friday.

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