Beth Bagley: Bear shooting


— I am married to the "bear killer," and I know the whole story of the incidents before and after the accidental shooting July 20. Kent tried to do the right thing by calling 911 to report the bear in the trash behind our house, but neither the police nor DOW responded. It was 10 p.m., and he was trying to load the car in order to leave the next day for his business trip, so (after getting no help from the officials) he decided to scare the bear off by shooting his rifle into the gravel behind the bear. It was eating from the trash container and was partially hidden from view. After the warning shot, and the bear didn't run away, Kent gave up and came inside. He left the next day for his trip as planned and learned later that the bear was shot and killed. While in Montana, he called Jim Haskins at the Division of Wildlife and voluntarily came forward with what he had done. My husband is not a contemplative murderer! He admitted his mistake and now is trying to put things right. I've read all the negative comments from readers and pray that you'll open your hearts to forgive my husband of his wrongdoing. I can assure you, it won't happen again.

Beth Bagley

Steamboat Springs


untamedShrewd 6 years, 1 month ago

why couldn't he just yell at the bear...It Works


Howard Merken 6 years, 1 month ago

Bear aside, I confronted two men in a car with a Utah plate that nearly ran over my five-year-old earler this summer in the Walmart parking lot. My wife pulled him out of the way, perhaps saving his life. I took down the information on their car after they left to go and shop. When I went to report it to the police station, it was closed for the weekend! I didn't want to push charges, but I simply wanted to report what happened in case they were caught doing something else. Yes, I could have called an emergency number, but I didn't think it was a real emergency.

What your husband did or didn't do is not my comment. A town that can shut down its streets for a huge advertising campaign known as the Fourth of July Parade should at least have the money to keep a police station open and respond to calls.


bestfreeheel 6 years, 1 month ago

Ms. Bagley, with all due respect, your husband's act is still quite inexcusable. Firing a high-powered rifle in an alleyway in downtown Steamboat Springs when it's dark out? Your husband very obviously has extremely poor gun safety education. Though I minutely understand your husband's plight at the time (believe me, I used to live on 6th street, and bears definitely kept us in our houses when they rummaged through our trash. And by the way, those "bear-proof" trash cans that Waste Management hands out, I can personally attest that they are futile to a hungry 300 lb bear!) he should have never resorted to what he did. He could have killed someone! At the very least, the law should require your husband to be banned from owning firearms until he takes a hunter safety course.


bubba 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't get it? Did he miss the ground and hit the bear in the head?

Did the bullet ricochet out of the gravel and happen to hit the bear in the head? It seems as though this is what is being suggested in the story, but that seems improbable that one could have that lucky of a shot, and be unaware that the bear was even hit...


Howard Merken 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh, by the way, as a former Alaskan, I agree with the first comment above, by bestfreeheel. We might have our Second Amendment right, but we also have our responsibility. If a shot to scare a bear killed a bear, then what if someone else were near the bear?

The death of a bear doesn't phase me. The danger to people does. Friends in Alaska had to pull their kids inside when some guys decided to practice shooting near the trailers in which two families, plus me, lived.

I worked in Israel with workers armed with M16s and Uzi submachine guns. I never felt endangered by the Israeli military culture, with 18-year-old Israeli Defense Forces girls with kakhi skirts and Uzis, although I'm sure I'd feel differently if I were an Arab there. I came back to America, and years later found teenagers with shotguns living with their families in bear country in the Alaska bush. That wouldn't be so bad, if a fourtenn-year-old girl weren't walking down a creek with a 16-gauge shotgun slung over her shoulder, ignorantly and stupidly pointing it right at my face.

I realize accidents happen. I could easily cause one in my car if my kids were screaming loud enough. But too many hunters are killed each year for me to feel that rights without responsibilities should be part of our American culture.


stmbt80477 6 years, 1 month ago

I understand that the garbage can was across the alley from Mr Knightwalker and the shot was aimed at the back of his neighbor's house. This is a bear that visits your neighborhood annualy (or used to). I, for one, am glad your husband is not my neighbor.


bandmama 6 years, 1 month ago

With all due respect, it was still a very irresponsible act. Ms. Bagley, instead of asking Steamboat Springs to open thier hearts, you should be thanking the stars that it was only the bear that was killed. Living in the area that we do, you must appreciate the fact that wildlife will sometimes get in the way of our busy lifestyles, such as packing the car to leave for a trip....or taking out the garbage. Your husbands reckless lack of concern for the safety of others is the question here, not the immediate response or lack there of, from the DOW or the police. We all appreciate the assurance that this was a one time incident and it wont happen again. I am sure that your neighbors, the guests of our town and the regulars that may frequent the businesses near your home feel much safer.


Boatperson 6 years, 1 month ago

I am astonished that this couple have in their mind done the right thing. Packing the car in the mourning would avert the necessity for interacting with the Bear. No other logic need apply, the evident caveat, self interest. I have and do know narrowed perspective intelligent individuals succeed at capitalism and suck in life.


jk 6 years, 1 month ago

What should not be lost here is the fact the DOW needs to start doing their job! Their improper turn the other cheek management style regarding this issue is only going to make things worse. Mamma bear will teach the baby bears it is easier to find food in the city rather than in the forest. Before long the trash collectors will need to be armed when opening dumpster enclosures, or picking up the roadside trash.


Boatperson 6 years ago

The bottom line is encroachment. I am a Native Coloradan and grew up in Steamboat. If humans continue to breed and wild resource areas diminish for Bears than somethings got to give.

Darwinism has taken a vacation when it comes to the Human condition. "You can't fix stupid"

The bears would not be there if we did not provide a source or resource. Back in the day you'd have an occasional bear amble through usually when separated or orphaned from its Mother and no one had a problem with bears in the trash.

Today? Too many animals vying for the same space... some animals even share their food.


jk 6 years ago

Hmmm, back in the day the smart bears that stayed in the woods and foraged for food didn't get shot and killed. Darwinism.


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