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Bear Injures Castle Creek-Area Homeowner Friday Morning

Jul 10, 2020

Bears are attracted to human trash as a source of food.
Credit Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Updated Friday, 1:30 p.m. - The bear involved in the attack on an Aspen homeowner has been euthanized following a short pursuit, according to a release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Evidence has been collected from the bear and from the scene of the attack and will be forensically examined to scientifically confirm the bear’s involvement.

A bear struck a man around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The bear entered a home on Castle Creek road and swiped the homeowner with its paw. The homeowner confronted the bear after hearing noises.

The swipe resulted in severe lacerations to the face, head and neck, sending the victim to Aspen Valley Hospital. He was later transferred to a hospital in Grand Junction. The injuries are not considered life-threatening.

CPW tracked the bear with hounds Friday morning, following it to a mine shaft on the back of Aspen Mountain. Once caught, the bear will be euthanized. Randy Hampton, a spokesman for CPW, said this bear will have to be euthanized because of the species’ affinity for human-created food sources.

"Bears are going to continue this kind of behavior. It's not a risk that we can take to relocate this bear and drop it into some other neighborhood."

“Research shows they’ll return time and time again, even up to a year later, once they get to a situation where they know they can find food,” Hampton said. “Bears are going to continue this kind of behavior. It’s not a risk that we can take to relocate this bear and drop it into some other neighborhood. With six million plus people in Colorado these days, everywhere is a neighborhood.”

Hampton said CPW was aware of a bear in the Castle Creek area for the past few days, and that the animal involved in the early morning attack may be the same bear that was the subject of multiple unsuccessful attempts by CPW to trap and relocate the animal over the past “couple of years.”

Hampton said trash and recycling left outside could attract bears, and encouraged people to use bear-resistant containers. He advised that closed and locked windows and doors could help prevent bears from entering the home.

A bear in downtown Aspen in October 2019.
Credit Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

In the case of the Castle Creek bear incident, Hampton said, “the information we were provided initially is that the door was closed, although the person didn’t know for sure that it was locked, but believed that it was.”

Changes to human activity during pandemic lockdowns have likely not led to changes in wildlife behavior, but Hampton said CPW has seen an uptick in reports of animals in human-occupied areas, potentially because more people are home to see them.