Summons to be issued after bear shot in North Routt County
August 28, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife official on Tuesday said he was going to issue a summons to a North Routt County man suspected of illegally shooting and killing a bear.
After researching the identification tag found on the carcass, District Wildlife Manager Mike Middleton said the bear is the same one that made headlines in May after it was tranquilized and got stuck in a tree on Pine Street in Old Town Steamboat Springs. While firefighters were attempting to lower the tranquilized bear to the ground with a rope, the bear slipped out of a knot and fell to the ground. The bear was uninjured and was transplanted near the Wyoming border. The bear returned south, and it was suspected as being the bear that was getting into trash and being a nuisance in Hahn's Peak.
Middleton said an anonymous person reported the bear had been shot by calling Operation Game Thief, a tip line that offers rewards to people for reporting poachers. It's suspected the shooting occurred July 13 in the Willow Creek Pass Village on Jupiter Place. Middleton said that he spoke with witnesses who identified the shooter and that the carcass was recovered.
"It was full of shotgun pellets," Middleton said.
He said one witness reported it appeared the man shot the bear because it was messing with a bird feeder.
Middleton declined to give the name of the suspect because charges had not been filed. He said the man faces multiple wildlife violations that could result in thousands of dollars in fines.
Another famous Colorado bear met its death shortly after being tranquilized and falling out of a tree April 27 at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. That bear was transplanted but returned to Boulder a week later and died after being hit by two cars on U.S. Highway 36.
Bear reports increase
The Division of Parks and Wildlife issued a news release Tuesday reminding people that fall is approaching and bears are beginning to pack on pounds in preparation for hibernation.
“Obey local ordinances, secure your trash, remove any accessible food source and never intentionally feed a bear,” Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde said in the release. “If more people follow just these few simple recommendations, it can reduce the possibility of conflicts.”
Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Rich Brown said officers have been dealing with more bear reports in recent weeks. That makes sense, Middleton said, because bears typically are more active in the city during the beginning and end of summer.
In recent weeks, he said, bears and trash have been an issue in the mountain area near Val D'Isere Circle, Laurel Lane and Anthony's Circle. There also were reports of gunshots in the area, which Middleton thinks might have been someone's attempt to scare away a bear. Firing guns within city limits is illegal.
Yearling bears who had been abandoned by their mothers were suspected of causing the trouble in the area, so a trap was set out to catch them. The Division of Parks and Wildlife was unsuccessful in catching any yearlings, and instead a male bear in excess of 300 pounds was found in the trap Tuesday morning.
Middleton said that because the bear was trapped, it had to be transplanted, but wildlife officials now are concerned that a new bear or sow and cubs will move into the area to take over the territory.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com