Colorado Officials Call Off Search for Bear That Attacked Man

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Michael Cummings/Getty Images)

Colorado authorities have called off the search for a black bear that attacked a man in New Castle on Saturday, Oct. 1. Officials were searching for the bear in the area between Glenwood Springs and Rifle, Colorado, but are no longer searching.

Instead, authorities urge the public to report any sightings in the area, specifically of an injured or dead bear. Residents can call wildlife officials at the Grand Junction Area Office at 970-255-6100. Additionally, citizens can also call the Colorado State Patrol Craig Regional Dispatch Center’s non-emergency line, which is 970-824-6501. Wildlife officials warn that if you live in the area and see a bear–alive, injured, or dead–do not approach the animal. Call one of those two numbers and report the sighting immediately.

The story behind the bear attack is that the New Castle man heard a commotion in his backyard on the night of Oct. 1. He went out to check the noise, and startled a bear in his backyard. The scared animal attacked, but the man had brought a gun outside. He managed to fire a few shots, which frightened the bear off. It is unknown if any shots hit the animal.

The man suffered injuries to his hand, arm, and chest, but luckily they were minor. He was taken to a local hospital and treated successfully. Colorado Parks and Wildlife conducted a search immediately after the incident was reported. But, it rained heavily after the attack, which made searching for the animal more difficult.

This is also the second bear attack in New Castle, Colorado this year. Last month, a bear attacked a woman in the area while she was closing up her hot tub. She ended up with a laceration on her arm. In that case, the bear was found and euthanized.

Colorado Reports Uptick in Human-Bear Conflicts in Recent Years

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, dangerous animal conflicts have increased in recent years. In response, CPW announced a Human-Bear Conflict Community Reduction Grant. This was awarded to local governments, individuals, and non-profits for projects that would help reduce the number of encounters in Colorado.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced support for the grant and future projects. “We are making sure that more people have the tools and resources needed to keep people and property safe, and save money, while protecting Colorado’s iconic black bear population,” Polis said in a statement. “These projects like bear-proof garbage cans make our communities safer, save people money, and help protect Colorado’s iconic wildlife.”

In addition to providing funding for these projects through the grant, the Colorado government also created a Human-Bear Conflict Reduction Advisory. Additionally, Governor Polis also signed HB 21-1326. This House Bill provides $1 million for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to establish conservation efforts.