Three home-raiding bears
By Robin Kepple
Editor, The Flume
Park County, Colorado's News Source
September 1, 2000
LAKE GEORGE, Colo. - A mother black bear and
her two cubs had to be destroyed after breaking into a Lake George home on Aug.
District Wildlife Manager Mark Lamb said the mother bear had a yellow ear tag,
meaning she had had previous conflicts with humans and had "been in trouble
before," he said. He said in recent weeks DOW officials had tried to deter
the mother bear from other homes using scare tactics such as rubber bullets and
pepper spray, but the warnings went unheeded and the bears were ultimately
|At about 12:30 that night, the man
awoke to "two sets of eyes looking at him.
The homeowner, whose name was not released,
shot the mother and one cub in his house, and DOW officials later shot the other
cub when it would not leave the area.
"We don't like shooting bears. We don't
want to shoot bears," said Lamb. "And, boy have I been getting the
However, Lamb said the decision was made to shoot the second cub since it posed
an on-going risk to people because it would continue to enter homes in its
search for food.
"The cub only knows what its mother showed
it," Lamb said. "Black bears do not unlearn these traits easily."
Lamb called it a no-win situation. "If the
bear hurts someone in the future, they'll ask why we didn't put it down when we
had a chance," he said. "But other people call and ask why we didn't
give it a chance."
The shootings occurred Thursday evening when
the homeowner returned home and discovered his garage door, which is split into
two sections and swings out on hinges, torn open and the hasp destroyed. Inside
the garage, a refrigerator was "completely ransacked," Lamb said.
"It had bear paw prints all over it."
The homeowner, who had his three-year-old son
with him, cleaned up the trash and food scraps and placed them in a trash barrel
in the back of a small trailer in the yard.
"It was pretty much spotless," Lamb
said. "This guy was cleaner than most." The man and his son then went
At about 12:30 that night, the man awoke to
"two sets of eyes looking at him," Lamb said. The mother and one cub
had again entered the house through the garage and made their way to his
bedroom. He got around the bears and grabbed his shotgun. The bears returned to
the garage, with the homeowner following. Lamb said when the sow turned to face
the man, the homeowner shot her, and then shot one of the cubs. He let the other
cub run out the garage door.
He then secured the garage door with cinder
blocks the best he could and tried to go back to bed. Two hours later he awoke
to find the other cub in his bedroom. He chased the bear out with a broom and
Later, when authorities arrived at the house,
the cub was up a tree near the house. However, within minutes the bear climbed
down the tree and was wandering around the area, obviously unafraid.
"This was not a good thing," Lamb
said. He called his supervisor and it was determined that the cub had to be
Lamb said he can't educate residents enough in
removing bird feeders, cleaning up trash and bringing in barbecue grills, things
that attract bears to homes in their never-ending search for food. Lamb hopes
mountain-area residents heed his warnings and do their best to keep their
properties clean of trash and other attractants to prevent the deaths of more
"Shooting bears is not a lot of fun. It
stinks," Lamb said.
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