CPW searches for aggressive bear after it confronted hiker and two dogs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife responded Thursday afternoon to a report of an aggressive bear after a hiker said it confronted him on a popular trail on the west side of Colorado Springs in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

The hiker said he and his two dogs were just 100 yards up the trail at the start of his midday hike when the confrontation occurred.

He said one dog, a Labrador, alerted at something in the thick scrub oak brush that surrounds the trail and it bolted, pulling its leash out of the hiker’s grasp, to go investigate. Soon, the hiker said he and his other dog, a Puggle mix breed, were confronted by a cinnamon-colored bear he estimated at 150 pounds.

He said the bear showed no fear of him or the dogs. In fact, he said the bear aggressively pursued the smaller dog, which was still on its leash. The hiker said he kicked the bear in the head to stop it from attacking his pet.

In the chaos, the hiker fell in gravel and suffered minor scratches on his legs. Again, he said, he kicked the bear in the head to prevent it from attacking his dog. The hiker said he was able to regain his footing and throw rocks at the bear, which turned and walked down the trail and disappeared. The bear never bit or clawed the hiker or his dogs.

The hiker was treated at the scene for minor scrapes on his legs by CPW officers, gave an account of the incident and left the scene. The City of Colorado Springs closed all nearby trails at the suggestion of CPW officers.

CPW also called in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) team, which helps CPW manage conflicts caused by wildlife for the protection of public health and safety. They intend to track the bear. If it is found, the bear will be euthanized because it poses an imminent threat to human health and safety. The public is asked to avoid the area until the search ends.

The incident is an important reminder of the need to observe Bear Aware rules, especially when hiking in bear country. It’s best not to hike alone. Keep pets leashed. Carry a “rattle can” filled with rocks, or carry a can of bear spray to use if confronted by a bear.

More Bear Aware tips can be found here and specific suggestions about hiking in bear country are at this link.

For questions about city trail closures, please call Vanessa Zink, senior communications specialist for Colorado Springs, at 719-491-0363.

 

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