The attack came late Sunday night as the Steamboat Springs resident entered his garage only to find a black bear sow and her two cubs.
The harrowing incident follows a fatal bear attack in Durango this May, and is the first attack in the Steamboat Springs area in 2021. Thankfully, the latest Colorado victim of a bear attack is expected to recover.
When the homeowner began shutting down his house for the night this past Sunday, he found his garage door open. Upon entering, the man saw a mother black bear and two of her cubs seeking food. Wildlife officials say the man attempted to “slowly back away,” but was unsuccessful in escaping the encounter. The sow lashed out, mauling him.
The victim, who remains anonymous, has “severe wounds” to his scalp and legs as a result, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The attack occurred at approx. 11p.m. Sunday night, hours before Memorial Day.
There is good news, though. Citing local authorities, Out There Colorado says the man’s injuries, though severe, are “not thought to be life-threatening”. He currently remains in stable condition.
Tragically, attacks like this typically lead to an aggressive bear being euthanized. Such was the case for this sow. Her two cubs remain loose, though Colorado officials hope to obtain both. Once they do, the plan is to keep them in a wildlife rehabilitation facility until they can be re-released – instead of euthanizing them.
Why Were Two Colorado Black Bears in a Resident’s Garage?
The natural question for fellow homeowners in bear country is: why did two black bears end up in a residential garage?
Those who live in close proximity to North America’s bear species know the large mammal’s penchant for an easy meal. Their sense of smell is incredible and can pick up the scent of something as faint as birdseed in a thick bag. Such might be the case for this Steamboat Springs man, who was storing feed in his garage.
“This is an important reminder for others to be highly aware of what wildlife attractants might be present in their own living space,” Out There Colorado reminds fellow state citizens. “Easy access to a possible food source, such as trash or seed, in [an urban] area can increase the chances of a negative human-animal interaction, something that often results in the animal being put down.”
Many expect bear attacks to be the product of grizzly bear encounters. But this will never be the case in Colorado. The species no longer (officially) exists in the state. A healthy population of black bears, however, does.
For an extensive read-up on how to avoid, and then survive if necessary, a black bear encounter, Outsider has you covered.