‘Aggressive’ bear slips Aspen area traps | AspenTimes.com

‘Aggressive’ bear slips Aspen area traps

Staff Report
The Aspen Times
A trail closure sign blocks the lower Hunter Creek Valley trail to hikers in May after an unprovoked bear attack was reported.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times


If you see a bear, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials offer these basic tips:

— Do not run from a bear, stand your ground and talk firmly to the animal;

— If it continues to approach, throw rocks and sticks, wave your arms and yell loudly;

— If the bear attacks, fight back as aggressively as possible and do not stop until the bear runs off.

A bear that bit a hiker Monday on the Hunter Creek Trail continued to elude wildlife officers Tuesday.

Kurtis Tesch, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer for the Upper Roaring Fork Valley, said two traps were set Monday for the bear after hounds were unable to locate it. Tesch monitored the traps Tuesday, but there was no sign of the bear other than unconfirmed sightings, he said.

“We’re waiting to see what happens,” he said.

The black bear — which Tesch believes is a yearling or 2-year-old — bit the woman about 9:15 a.m. Monday, he said. She suffered two puncture wounds to her thigh.

The woman, who was in her mid-50s and visiting from Washington, was hiking up the Hunter Creek Trail with her husband when they saw the bear coming down the trail toward them. They stepped off the trail to give the bear room, and as it passed it bit her and then ran off, Tesch said. The couple did not have a dog with them and was not yelling at the bear at the time of the attack, he said.

Tesch said the attack was “seemingly” out of the blue.

The couple had walked about 10 minutes up the trail when they encountered the bear, said Deputy Michael Buglione of the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The woman was composed after the attack — which occurred near Lone Pine Road — but was upset when she was informed that the bear would have to be killed, Tesch said.

Aggressive animals who attack humans are automatically killed so others are not attacked, he said.