Man mauled by bear near Lake City
A 50-year-old Colorado Springs man was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released following an early morning encounter with a bear while camping in the area of Lake San Cristobal near Lake City this week.
“He did all he could do,” said Mike Porras, spokesman with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “He fought the bear off and he got help.”
The encounter led to the bear being put down by a wildlife officer, Porras said.
The man was camping in a legal but non-designated area about 4 a.m. Wednesday when he was awakened by something pushing on his tent. He pushed back and the bear reacted, Porras said.
“It was likely that this bear had begun to associate tents and camping with food, an easy meal for the bear,” he said.
Other campers reported a similar-looking black bear at a nearby campsite. Wildlife officers euthanized the bear Thursday morning.
The bear was taken to a laboratory in Fort Collins. A necropsy will be conducted and DNA evidence will be gathered to link the bear to the encounter.
There have been a few incidents of bears reported in Grand Junction this summer. And while the city is not quite bear habitat, the animal’s habitat surrounds the Grand Valley, Porras said.
This is normally the time of year when wildlife officials remind residents of how to reduce bear encounters.
With the dry spell, bears have to travel longer distances for food, and being opportunistic they will go for an easy meal, Porras said. Campers should focus on having a clean area, never feed the animals, make them feel unwelcome around people and lock down their garbage, he said.
Bears can smell even a stick of gum from as many as five miles away.
Bears have broken into buildings, killed livestock and damaged property in the Crestone, South Fork, Creede and San Luis areas, according to Parks and Wildlife.
Such problems will only get worse unless homeowners and campers take precautions, wildlife officials say.
In addition to garbage, some major bear attractions to remove include bird feeders, pet food and dishes. Securing small livestock at night is essential.
According to Parks and Wildlife’s website, bears will work hard to get the calories they need, and although naturally shy and wary, they can become aggressive in that pursuit.
More information, including links on bear-proofing your home and living with bears, can be found on the division’s website at http://www.parks.state.co.us.