COLORADO SPRINGS — An early morning call for a home intruder at a northwest Colorado Springs home had Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers dealing with a male bear still in the home, in fact it was sitting on the couch when they arrived.
According to CPW, the homeowner was cooking bacon Sunday morning when the 150-pound bear tore through the patio screen door to make himself at home. The homeowner ran out the front door as the bear came in.
Officers don't think the bacon was the main attraction, as they found cat food and a bird feeder by the patio door outside the home on Spirerock Path. The area is off of Woodmen Rd west of I-25.
The bear was euthanized by officers as this was not their first encounter with the animal. He was previously relocated from a neighborhood in the northeastern part of the city.
“It's always a hard day when we have to euthanize a bear,” said District Wildlife Manager Cassidy English. “Our mission is to protect wildlife. When bears become habituated to people, they can become a threat to public safety. This is why it is so important that our community works together to keep wildlife wild.”
Homeowners can take many steps to avoid putting bears in danger by not enticing animals into backyards, driveways and garages. Bears are naturally attracted to common items such as dog food, bird food, and trash.
Homeowners can now take an assessment of their properties to be bear safe. That includes: bringing bird feeders inside by dusk, keeping pet food secured or indoors and not leaving trash out in the open, and only bringing dumpsters to the curb as close to pick up as possible.
Here are some recommended steps to proper bearproofing:
Keep Bears Out
- Close and lock all bear-accessible windows and doors when you leave the house, and at night before you go to bed.
- Keep car doors and windows closed and locked if you park outside. Make sure there’s nothing with an odor in your vehicle, including candy, gum, air fresheners, food wrappers, lotions and lip balms.
- Close and lock garage doors and windows at night and when you’re not home; garage doors should be down if you are home but not outside.
- Install extra-sturdy doors if you have a freezer, refrigerator, pet food, bird seed, or other attractants stored in your garage.
- Remove any tree limbs that might provide access to upper-level decks and windows.
- Replace exterior lever-style door handles with good quality round door knobs that bears can’t pull or push open.
Get Rid of Attractants
- Don’t leave trash out overnight unless it’s in a bear-proof enclosure or container. Be sure to research all local ordinances and regulations if vacationing.
- Take time to clean your garbage cans to keep them odor-free; ammonia serves as both a cleaner and a bear deterrent
- Don’t store food of any kind in an unlocked garage, flimsy shed or on or under your deck.
- Don’t leave anything with an odor outside, near open windows or in your vehicle, even if you’re home. That includes scented candles, air fresheners, lip balms and lotions.
- Only feed birds when bears are hibernating. If you want to feed birds when bears are active, bring in seed or liquid feeders at night or when you leave home, and regularly clean underneath them.
- Thoroughly clean your grill after every use, ensuring grease and odors are burned off.
- Pick fruit from fruit trees before it gets ripe, and do not allow fallen fruit to rot on the ground.
Remind Bears They’re Not Welcome
- If a bear comes close to your home, haze it away. Loud noises like a firm yell, clapping your hands, banging on pots and pans or blowing an air horn should send bears running.
- Utilize electric fencing, unwelcome mats and scent deterrents like ammonia to teach bears that your property is not bear-friendly.
- If a bear enters your home, open doors and windows and ensure it can leave the same way it got in. Don’t approach the bear or block escape routes.
- Never approach a bear. If a bear won’t leave, call your local CPW office. If a bear presents an immediate threat to human safety, call 911.