Bear euthanized, suspected of ripping through shed door in Steamboat

Matt Stensland

— Colorado Division of Wildlife officers chose to euthanize a problem bear that was caught in a trap Monday night in Steamboat Springs.

District Wildlife Manager Libbie Miller said they could not risk relocating the bear and then have it return to the city.

The large male black bear is suspected of recently ripping through a shed door to get at trash inside. The incident happened on Buckskin Drive.

Miller said the trash was properly stored, but bears habituated to eating trash will become more determined to get at their food source.

Miller said wildlife officers consider the shed like a home, and when a bear shows that kind of aggressive behavior, Parks and Wildlife policies allow them to destroy the bear.

“These are the bears we can’t risk relocating,” Miller said.

Another shed was recently ripped open in the nearby Indian Trails neighborhood, but Miller said they do not know for sure whether the same bear was responsible.

Earlier this spring, a bear was caught in a trap in the Tree Haus neighborhood. The bear had been an ongoing nuisance, and had tunneled under a deck. That bear was relocated.

Despite ramped-up enforcement by the Steamboat Springs Police Department, Miller said there are still a huge number of people not properly securing their trash.

Parks and Wildlife employee Christy Bubenheim said they have been receiving concentrated reports of bears getting into trash in the areas of Blue Sage Drive, Indian Trails and Val D’Isere Circle.

But despite the large number of bear reports this year, Bubenheim said it seems more people are complying with trash rules.

“I think that’s because they know they’re going to get a citation if they don’t,” Bubenheim said.

Those who are issued a citation pay $250 for the first violation.

The city’s rules state that trash can only be put out after 6 a.m. the day it is to be picked up. The trash cans then need to be brought back inside by 8 p.m.

Bubenheim suggested people use straps to secure their trash. She also suggested putting ammonia in trash because bears do not like the smell.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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