Bear Approaches Family’s Tent, Pops Beach Ball and Scratches Woman In Colorado

by Dustin Schutte

One bear’s curiosity left a family startled and a woman with scratches across her head while camping at Monument Lake Resort in Colorado. Now, wildlife officials are on the search for the animal.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) sent out a release about an incident involving campers and the curious bear last week, approximately 37 miles west of Trinidad. The report states the intruder was lingering around the campsite of a husband, wife and their two-year-old daughter. At approximately 2 a.m., the animal popped a beach ball and awakened the toddler, who then started crying.

When the woman comforted the child, she likely brushed the side of the tent. The bear swatted at the movement, tearing the fabric and scratching the victim’s head. After the incident, the beast wandered off.

Wildlife officials are now on the search for the curious intruder and there won’t be a pleasant ending. The CPW defines the encounter as an “attack” because the animal made contact with a human. Officials will euthanize the animal if it is located.

“This is an unfortunate incident because the bear was not aggressively pursuing the victim,” said Mike Brown, a CPW Area Wildlife Manager.

Brown continued to say the animal’s swipe at the tent was out of reaction to the movement from inside. “If the bear intended to harm the woman, the outcome would have been much worse,” he said.

The woman did not suffer any serious injuries in the attack. She sustained scratches to her head but did not seek immediate medical assistance.

A Positive Update on the Bear Population in Colorado

Unfortunately, one bear’s curiosity at Monument Lake Resort is going to lead to a sad ending. Don’t worry, Outsiders, there is some good news regarding the species’ population in Colorado.

According to Out There Colorado, there are between 17,000-20,000 bears in the state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife also suggests the population is “stable and growing.”

In 2021, 66 bears were euthanized and 51 relocated, according to CPW’s bear activity report. Those numbers are significantly lower than the 2020 totals (158 euthanized, 118 relocated).

“Bears trying to access trash is the leading cause of conflict,” CPW said in a statement. “Other constant sources of conflict include birdfeeders, livestock, bears accessing open garages and other human originated items that are left unsecured. These could all easily be reduced if the public takes some simple steps around their homes and properties to prevent bears from accessing them.”

While one bear’s story is unfortunate, it’s promising to know the population is thriving throughout Colorado.