CPW: DNA confirms bear killed was the one that bit hiker near Aspen | SteamboatToday.com

CPW: DNA confirms bear killed was the one that bit hiker near Aspen

A trail closure sign blocks the lower Hunter Creek Valley trail to hikers Monday afternoon after an unprovoked bear attack was reported earlier in the day. Crews with tracking dogs were dispatched to locate the suspect bear.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times

The bear killed Friday by state wildlife officers was confirmed Wednesday as the same bear that bit a woman Memorial Day on the Hunter Creek Trail, according to a news release.

The DNA sample taken from the woman who was bitten matched DNA taken from the bear after it was killed on Friday, according to the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“In addition, preliminary results from the necropsy performed on the bear … revealed the stomach contents of the 3- to 4-year-old, 224-pound male bear consisted almost entirely of birdseed,” the release states. 

Wildlife officers believe “it is very likely the bear’s aggressive behavior was due to having lost its natural fear of people as it fed on backyard bird feeders,” according to CPW.

Wildlife officers continually warn people to take down bird feeders, secure trash and lock first-floor windows so as not to attract bears, said CPW Officer Matt Yamashita.

“It’s time for the public to self-assess and realize that until they take this seriously, people will remain in danger and bears will continue to be put down,” Yamashita said in the release.

The woman who was attacked was hiking on the Hunter Creek Trail about 10 minutes from the Hunter Creek Apartments when she and her husband encountered the bear coming down the trail, a local wildlife officer has said. The couple backtracked a bit and stepped off the trail, but the bear bit the woman on her thigh as it passed, then ran away, the officer said.

The attack was “seemingly” out of the blue, he said.

Bears that are aggressive toward humans are hunted down and killed as a matter of public policy. 

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