CPW urges campers observe “Bear Aware” rules to avoid conflicts
By Bill Vogrin
A couple sleeping in a tent in a private campground southwest of Colorado Springs was startled early Monday when a small bear pounced on their tent. Though neither of the people inside was injured in the incident, it is classified by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as an attack because the bear contacted a human. A trap has been set by wildlife officers in hopes of catching the bear. A small brown-colored bear has been seen wandering the campground in recent weeks and it is suspected in this incident.
If caught, CPW does not plan to euthanize the bear because it was not aggressive toward the people. Also, it would be impossible to positively identify the bear without hair or tissue samples for comparisons. So wildlife officers intend to haze or release the bear in a more remote region.
The incident occurred around 1:30 a.m. as the couple was staying at the Golden Eagle Campground off Colorado Highway 115, about five miles southwest of the city.
The couple was awakened by the sound of the bear rustling around their campsite. They told CPW Officer Aaron Berscheid the bear knocked clean plates and a cooking stove off the table. Then it apparently stood on its back legs and put its paws on the tent, as if investigating it, causing the tent to collapse.
The resulting commotion caused the bear to run off a ways, turn and huff at them. They shouted and ultimately turned on their car’s alarm to scare it away.
“By the descriptions of the bear and by studying its footprints, it appears to be a juvenile bear,” Berscheid said. “It’s behavior sounds more as if it was just curious rather than aggressive. There were no food attractants at the campsite. I think it was just a curious young bear.”
Berscheid said the woman in the tent reported being scratched on her head, but no sign of the scratch was visible later Monday when they contacted CPW to report the incident. There was a rip on the rainfly protecting the tent, but the tent was not damaged.
The incident is an important reminder of the need to observe Bear Aware rules, especially when camping in bear country. Never keep food in a tent or eat in a tent. Store food and anything with an odor, including toiletries and clothes you cook in, in a bear-resistant container or suspended from a tree at least 10 feet above ground.