When you think of the word ‘burgalry,’ you probably don’t imagine it involving a 400-pound bear. However, the term now has a new meaning for one Colorado man. On Saturday, a man had his night ruined when an angry animal barged into his home and rummaged through some dog food, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.
The homeowner, Ken Mauldin, revealed how it all went down during an interview with a local radio station.
“When I went to my bedroom door, I saw the bear about 10 feet away and I shot it instantly with a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun,” Mauldin said.
He continued: “Then the bear charged me. I continued shooting at it as fast as I could. The bullet hole in the floor suggested the bear got about five to six feet from me when he backed up, changed directions, and crashed through the banister railing onto the stairs, where he collapsed at the bottom of the stairs.”
As he describes, he immediately grabbed his gun and shot the animal several times until it collapsed. According to Rachel Gonzalez, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife., the animal died just after 2 a.m.
Thankfully, nobody suffered any injuries, according to Gonzalez. Officers later removed the animal from his home, located in the ski-resort town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Per Gonzalez, Mauldin had the legal right to shoot the animal if he felt threatened.
Colorado is home to nearly 12,000 bears, meaning human-animal break-ins aren’t uncommon in some Rocky Mountain communities. However, residents shooting and killing bears in self-defense is rare, according to Gonzalez.
As for this specific male, he wasn’t wearing a tag, and the department does not know if it was behind other break-ins in the area.
“Steamboat, that area, they’ve been dealing with bears getting into homes all summer long,” said Gonzalez. “It’s not impossible that this bear learned the behavior from another bear.”
Bears encroach on communities as they struggle to naturally find food in the wild
Wildlife officials recommend that residents of Steamboat Springs lock all doors, and windows, secure their trash and recycling in bear-proof containers and even take down bird feeders to prevent these kinds of human-bear conflicts.
“These types of incidents are preventable,” said Gonzalez. “Bears are very smart. Once they learn that it’s easy to access food in a certain area, they are going to keep doing it.”
Gonzales also revealed also that there is no indication the large bear had been in homes before, but all bears are currently searching for food in preparation for the upcoming winter.
“Anytime bears are awake, they’re going to search for the easiest food to get to. Maybe our trash is out, maybe we’ve got food in a garage that a bear can just walk into. That’s going to attract them to it because it’s easy,” said Gonzales.
With wildlife struggling to find natural food in the wild, Gonzales said it is not a rarity for these animals to make their way into cities and towns. All the more reason humans do their part to prevent these encounters.
“If you’ve got doors, windows that are on the ground levels or patios that bears can easily wander up onto, make sure they’re closed and locked, especially in the overnight hours,” Gonzales explained.