A recent close encounter has been deemed a "bear attack" in Colorado, with sights set on trapping the offending bruin.
A Colorado couple at a private campground was awakened by a bear encounter, prompting wildlife officials to qualify it as an "attack" and set traps in hopes on capturing the suspect bruin.
Here's what was described:
The couple was awakened by the sound of the bear rustling around their campsite. They told CPW Officer Aaron Berscheid the bear knocked clean plates and a cooking stove off the table. Then it apparently stood on its back legs and put its paws on the tent, as if investigating it, causing the tent to collapse.
The resulting commotion caused the bear to run off a ways, turn and huff at them. They shouted and ultimately turned on their car's alarm to scare it away.
A small brown-colored bear (likely a color phase black bear, not a brown bear by subspecies) had been noted as frequenting the area in recent weeks.
Berscheid was quoted as saying "By the descriptions of the bear and by studying its footprints, it appears to be a juvenile bear. Its behavior sounds more as if it was just curious rather than aggressive. There were no food attractants at the campsite. I think it was just a curious young bear."
The woman in the tent had claimed the bear scratched her on the head, but there was no visible evidence of an injury when officials made contact after the incident was reported later Monday night.
Since none of the campers were injured, and the occurrence did not seem to be spurned by an aggressive bear, wildlife officers don't intend on euthanizing the suspect bear, but instead hazing or catch and release is in their plans.
It was noted that positive identification, typically done through hair or tissue samples (which weren't found in this case) would be difficult if not impossible.
The incident should be a refresher on the requirements to be alert and know the protocol should you ever encounter a bear in the wild. The CPW has plenty of Bear Aware tips that can be here and also provide specific suggestions about camping in bear country at this link.
Ultimately, some sort of protection, whether it be bear spray, a sidearm, or something else, ought to be taken into consideration. Everyone makes their own decisions, but it's better to be more prepared than less so.