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Bear rips up SUV

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times photo/Paul ConradNance Schutter's Chevy Tahoe is a bit worse for the wear after an encounter with a hungry bear.
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An aggressive black bear ripped an SUV to shreds sometime on Thursday night or early Friday morning in the Williams Ranch subdivision near Smuggler Mountain in Aspen.

Nance Schutter, who owns the 2001 Chevy Tahoe, said that bears are regularly fighting to get into the trash cans in her neighborhood, so she didn’t pay attention to loud noises coming from her driveway.

“I’ve done everything I could to keep them out of the area ” I bought a motion detector at Sharper Image and used ammonia, and the bears still get in,” she said. “I’ve gotten used to our dogs barking at bears.”

But in the morning, when a neighbor asked her what happened to her car, she was taken aback by the damage.

“This bear pushed the passenger’s side window through, broke the windshield, tore the paneling off one of the doors, bit through the dash board and pooped all over the place,” Schutter said. Sure enough, the evidence the bear left behind ” mostly comprised of bright red berries ” lay in piles on the inside of Schutter’s vehicle.

Earlier this week, a representative from the Colorado Division of Wildlife said human-bear conflicts have reached an alarming rate this month. According to wildlife officer Kevin Wright, the bruins are in a transition time with their food sources right now; flowering plants are dying off and most berries and acorns aren’t ripe yet.

Wright is busy warning valley residents that doors and windows left open in homes are simply invitations to hungry bears. But when it comes to Schutter’s SUV, she’s at a loss about why a bear was interested in getting inside.

“There might have been a granola bar inside, but it’s been there since Christmas,” she said. “The car mostly smells like dogs since I drive my dogs around in it, but I do keep my car clean.”

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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