STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — For the second time in two weeks, a bear has been put down after entering a home in Steamboat Springs in search of food.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said around noon on Tuesday, a medium-sized black bear with brown fur entered a home through an unlocked sliding glass door and "received a large food reward from the homeowner's refrigerator."
The homeowner told wildlife officers the same bear had ripped out a screen on the house the previous day, and had also gotten into another home in the neighborhood.
The wildlife officer believed this bear had become habituated to human food, and set a trap at the home. Around 6:45 a.m. Thursday, the bear returned and was caught in the trap. Wildlife officers responded and euthanized the bear.
“A 200-pound bear in hyperphagia that has no fear of entering a home in search of food is a dangerous bear that poses an imminent threat to humans,” Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf said in a release. “Luckily, this bear hadn’t entered an occupied home yet. A wild bear in a confined space with humans would be very dangerous for the homeowners. Unfortunately, we’ve had several similar situations in Steamboat Springs recently.”
On Sept. 7, another bear was put down after entering a Steamboat Springs home through an open garage door. The bear became trapped inside the home, also trapping the family living there.
Responding wildlife officers euthanized the bear after they couldn't draw it out of the home after 45 minutes.
Sara Nance said over the last week and a half, a bear has repeatedly tried to get into her house near Fish Creek Falls Road.
"My husband was home and the bear came in," Nance said. "He heard a bang. He came upstairs."
"The bear was half in and half out," she said. "He wasn't in our house very long, and he had broken the screen."
Nance said her husband scared the bear off, but it kept coming back--at least four times.
Nance has lived in Steamboat for 20 years, and she said she's used to coexisting with the bears, not fighting to keep them out of her home.
CPW said reports of bear conflicts are way down across the state this year, but they're up in the Steamboat Springs area, and CPW isn't sure why. It could be drought, lack of natural food sources, or simply because people are getting better at reporting bear conflicts.
CPW said bears in Colorado are entering hyperphagia and will spend up to 20 hours a day trying to eat more than 20,000 calories a day to fatten up for winter. As bears hunt for food, Coloradans may see more bear activity in populated areas.
CPW said Coloradans should be careful to secure food sources and other items around the house that can attract bears.
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