Bob Reinier of B & L Quality Taxidermy examines the bear on Tuesday morning that was shot Monday night in downtown Steamboat Springs by an unknown person.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Bob Reinier of B & L Quality Taxidermy examines the bear on Tuesday morning that was shot Monday night in downtown Steamboat Springs by an unknown person.

Bear shot in downtown Steamboat

Adult male killed from shot to the head Monday night



Steve Baumgartner with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, left, talks with Bob Reinier of B & L Quality Taxidermy after dropping off a bear that was shot Monday night by an unknown person in downtown Steamboat Springs.

— An adult male bear was shot and killed in an alley in downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday night.

Jim Haskins, area manager for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said officers are treating the killing as a crime and investigating who shot the 200 to 300 pound bear.

Haskins said the bear was going through trash in the alleyway parallel to Eighth and Ninth streets, between Pine and Aspen streets, when someone shot it in the head.

"It's not like a situation where someone was protecting human life or property or anything like that," he said.

Towny Anderson, who lives next door to the driveway where the bear was shot, said he heard a gunshot at about 10 to 10:15 p.m.

"I heard the gunshot, which was pretty loud, pretty distinctive, and I looked out the window and saw the overturned garbage can," he said.

He also saw the dead bear lying next to an overturned garbage can. Anderson said he did not see who shot the bear.

"It's a bit shocking for anybody who lives in the neighborhood that someone would shoot a gun," he said.

Anderson said overturned garbage cans aren't a new problem in the alley but said that doesn't mean the bear should be shot.

"I just have a real hard time with this," he said. "It's a people problem."

Haskins said this bear had been known to get into trash in the alley, but neighbors nearby told him that the bear was not a major concern.

"My understanding is that the neighbors in the area had not been having trouble with bears where this bear was shot. At this point, we don't have reason to believe this was a regular occurrence in the area," he said.

Bear shootings are not unheard of in rural areas, Haskins said, but he could not remember any other case when a bear had been shot in town.

A person legally can shoot a bear if they are a licensed hunter, a landowner protecting livestock or if they are acting in self-defense, Haskins said.

Haskins said the trash container was bear-resistant, not bear-proof. A carabiner secured the closed lid, but Haskins said the bear was able to get inside.

Another bear call, presumably about the same bear, was reported nearby at 10 p.m. Anderson called police at 10:13 p.m.

The person who shot the bear faces "many thousands of dollars in fines," Haskins said, and potentially jail time, depending on how the case is prosecuted.

The bear first will be kept as evidence and examined as part of the investigation, then it will be skinned, Haskins said. The pelt will be used for education or may be sold at a Division of Wildlife auction to raise funds.

Steamboat Springs Police Department officers also responded to the call. Capt. Joel Rae said the police will assist Division of Wildlife officers however they can.


Kat Kelly 6 years, 11 months ago

Shoot the Bast**d that shot the Bear... Eye for an Eye


max huppert 6 years, 11 months ago

would have been nice if the bear got that jerk,, hope he gets caught.. people need to leave the wildlife alone in this town and not complain when they go onto there property or in the trash..


Oscar 6 years, 11 months ago

The DOW needs to offer a reward for turning the shooter in. Someone will know who did this.


mavis 6 years, 11 months ago

I am confident DOW will have this figured out- they are fast at solving crimes from what I have seen they will have it figured out while everyone else is still "processing the paperwork"


housepoor 6 years, 11 months ago

shouldn't the SSPD also be involved for use of a firearm in a residential area?


cara marrs 6 years, 11 months ago

This is so inhumane, I really hope that this person is caught and prosecuted to the fullest possible extent. If this bear posed no threat this is pure evil.


localboy17 6 years, 11 months ago

let's be honest here, there are so many bears causing problems all over town and the mountain. I know people are going to say "well we moved into their habitat" but now we live here so too bad. Other than a person shooting a firearm within city limits, and most likely unlicensed (which is very wrong and should be prosecuted) we should look at this as one more pest out of the way and a bargain bear skin for someone.


papafu 6 years, 11 months ago

Hopefully the person who did this will be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, two questions come to mind. Why is it we have an ordinance about bear proof trash cans and fines and there are still many trash cans that are not bear proof and nothing seems to be done about it? Secondly, in yesterday's record there was a report of someone shooting a gun on his property within the city limits for target practice and the only thing that happened was he said he would stop if it was bothering anybody? Huh? So I can go out in my yard and shoot at beer cans as long as I stop if it bothers somebody? Holy mackerel!


Kat Kelly 6 years, 11 months ago

I truly believe it is not the Bears causing problems but irresponsible humans.

If your trash is properly contained then the bears do not get into it. If the bear was simply getting a free meal because the owner did not contain their trash how can you blame the bear. If you make enough noise the bear will move on. From this article it seems they simply shot first. Would they do the same to a hungry human?

You must ask yourself why you live here... Views, Clean Air, Open Space, Beauty, Wildlife... why then would you kill the reasons you live here.


cara marrs 6 years, 11 months ago

For us the bear proof trash bins from WM have not been enough to deter the bears in our neighborhood, so we have reinforced it on our own several times with a metal strip and screws over the top. The bear tries, gets frustrated and then stops coming back. People need to take a little responsibility and reinforce their cans if the trash service will not provide truly bear proof cans. A bear is not a pest, wildlife is part of the reason people want to live in the mountains and animals should be treated respectfully and with compassion.


1wzgal 6 years, 11 months ago

I hope the shooter gets caught and charged. That person needs anger management, desperately!


Duke_bets 6 years, 11 months ago


Most of you are comparing bears to humans? That is odd.

Duke bets that you all have barking / pooping hounds and support no leash laws.

boater - I don't know anyone who has moved to downtown Steamboat because they can view a bear rummaging through the trash.


aichempty 6 years, 11 months ago


You're right again.

The first time little Chad or Brittney Hyphenated-Surname takes two ursine incisors to the brain stem while hauling out the trash for "Mummie" after dark (after having been bribed into doing a demeaning "chore" because "Mummie has cramps, but she'll make it up to you with a trip to the water slide"), people will sing a different tune.


jk 6 years, 11 months ago

Aich, that was quite the pot stirring post there. Easy your humor is showing again.

Duke, I don't know why you have to hate on the dogs? I was happy for my barking/ pooping hounds last night, as they chased one of the cute cuddly little bundles of fur out of my yard. I thought about this article while watching the kids walking home down my street. It must be time to put up a few more bear tags around here. Of course I don't know how one would taste with the affinity for trash they have developed. Or if I could ever get my dogs to stop barking at the rug.


Kat Kelly 6 years, 11 months ago

to those defending the shooter...

I only let my dogs go without a leash in my own front yard even though my neighbors allow theirs to roam all over all day and night. I also pick up the pooh (from my dogs as well as my neighbors dogs that roam and pooh in my yard) and put it in my out side trash can and that keeps the bears out. When I walk my dogs (always on a leash) I also pick up their pooh and bring it home with me.

My dogs are well behaved but I always keep them leashed.

I have had bears in my yard and simply scare them off or wait for them to move on, and I do the same for the moose, elk, deer, skunk as well as the human drunks that pass through my yard.

Should I take your view on all these animals or just the only one that causes a true threat, the human drunk?

If I shoot them (the human drunk) in the head for simply being on my property and trashing my yard, being loud and obnoxious and making me feel unsafe in my own home, would you defend me?


aichempty 6 years, 11 months ago


If I were you, I'd put out food for the bears and let them take care of the drunks.

Don't thank me. I get paid to come up with sensible ideas. That will be $15.00.


Brian Kotowski 6 years, 11 months ago

I saw a 60 Minutes-type segment on the tube years ago. They were doing a feature on bears in the Poconos; and how human-bear encounters were on the rise as development encroached on bear habitat.

So the correspondent hooks up with a "bear expert." Bear expert takes the correspondent and a camera crew out into the woods to look at the bears.

They get to within a couple hundred yards of a mama bear & her cubs. As they're talking, mama catches a whiff of them, stands up, and growls.


Correspondent looks at Bear Guy and says: "Uh, don't you think we should head back to the van?"

Bear Guy replies: "Well, the thing is, mama here can do zero to 30 in nothin' flat. If she decides she wants you, you ain't gonna make it back to the van."

At that point, watching it on television, the picture is lost. The cameraman has clearly decided 'eff this - I'm outt here!'


cara marrs 6 years, 11 months ago

Disappointing, I was simply trying to post my solution to keeping the bears out of our trash and relay how I felt about someone shooting a bear in the head for no reason. Another example of why I usually do not post here anymore.


Oshkoshgirl 6 years, 11 months ago

Isn't there a law against shooting guns in the city limits? Why is no one concerned about this? I see alot more dogs running loose and knocking over trash cans and rummaging through them than I do bears. Is it okay if someone takes a gun and shoots the dog? That might get the dog owners that let their dogs run around loose think twice about it if there is chance they could get shot. Apparently shooting guns in a neighborhood alley is okay with the law here in Steamboat. Next time I hear what I think are fireworks being shot off in the middle of the night, I might actually be hearing gunfire. It is disgusting that someone killed this bear - doesn't seem like he was hurting anyone and doing anymore damage than the dogs in this area.


flower 6 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if this is another instance where the DOW was contacted and failed to do the job.


evergreene 6 years, 11 months ago

After reading boater's well considered response and the sort of off the wall stuff that followed, I hope I won't regret wading into this issue. The truth is that yes, humans have continued to sprawl into territory that used to belong to the animals alone. Now we and they have to learn to coexist. Animals must face a challenging array of issues to survive. The habitat they depend on is changing and degraded, the weather is changing, there is more trash and pollution, and there are hunters, drought, vehicles and roads, and other issues that we may not understand that they face. Bears will eat what is easy for them and calorie rich and that includes available trash or birdseed or hummingbird nectar or pet food. We have an advantage over them (well, a lot of advantages) which is that we can choose how to behave. We can choose to put our trash out in the morning and not to keep it in an alley where we know bears will visit. So I reject an argument that says that it's the bears fault and we should shoot "problem" bears. The problem lies with the humans who are too lazy or simply do not care about wildlife and refuse to change their behavior. Someone shot that bear. Another will come as long as food is available. Then what?


papafu 6 years, 11 months ago

Well said evergreene. Too bad, in a town renowned for its friendly people, we have those that aren't too friendly at all. If only the bears could take care of them along with the other garbage.


nxoby36 6 years, 11 months ago

What is the matter with you People ? You either hate dogs or are unreasonably afraid of them . Many of us are tired of you trying to force us to put a long time member of our family on a leash because you have a phobia about dogs . Most of these dogs are better behaved then your stupid children . You hysterically call 911 when ever you see a Bear , Coyote , Badger , Elk , Deer , Skunk , Cow , Dog or even a Cat within a 1/4 mile of your little circle of personal space . Quit wasting the time of our Public Safety Officials with your petty phobias , if you want to cry to someone about your decision to live here and inability to adapt to a rural environment call your mom. Why the hell did you move here? Steamboat isn't an urban area no matter how much you want it to be . We live 100 miles from the closest Freeway . There are wild critters here , this is not Disney Land or a Zoo . Face it folks you belong in LA , New York City , Chicago or what ever urban blight you came from . Somewhere that all animals are safely protected from you behind bars in a cage or on a leash . If you are unable to enjoy the privilege of a sighting of one of natures critters , leave here no one is forcing you to stay . Either adapt to life here or git ! Go back to where you can be safe from encountering wild animals and enjoy being mugged and judging each other by the cost of your car or size of your home . Maybe then the budget of our Police and Sherif's department would not be so stressed by responding to your frivolous whining 911 phone calls . No one asked or forced you to come live here .


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