(Last Updated On: September 19, 2009)
Crested Butte has had it’s share of bear problems this year. Bears are everywhere. Not only are they getting into people’s trash, but they are making their way into people’s cars, houses, and even our police station. The problem has been building all summer, and is now culminating as bears are scrounging for every bit of food before settling down for a nice torpor. Accounts of several bear encounters can be read in these three articles by the Crested Butte News.
Marshals concerned with new wave of pesky bear problems – Aug. 19, 2009
Local vehicles feel brunt of bear problem – July 22, 2009
Bears gone wild? Local bruins cause night chaos across town – July 15, 2009
Photo from Travel Alaska
But, perhaps the funniest encounter I’ve heard comes from my friend Alison. Posted on her Facebook earlier this week she said:
We have a big momma with two cubs who comes by our house all the time. Three weeks ago, the mamma broke into our house, while we were away on a bike tour, and ate 200 Clif Bars. She wrapped up her excursion by heading into our bedroom for a drink of water in the toilet, complete with an investigation into our bathtub, it was full of hair. Each bar was opened carefully and nothing broken in the house. Wrappers filled four rooms. How she got back out remains a mystery, as our door swings shut after you open it.
This past friday night, asleep and home alone while Jason was working in Vail, I heard our door open, and a moan, which puzzled me, as I had locked both doors. Then I heard moaning and a crash. I grabbed my newly purchased paintball gun, ready on the bedside table, and came around the corner all rambo-styled, as I had just freshly graduated from Hunter Education and rifle training the day before. With two hands on the gun, I cop-styled around each corner of the mudroom, with the last turn leaving me face to face with the 500-pound mamma bear. She roared repeatedly, not happy with me being home. I yelled “GET OUT”, and it went on for a bit, like a bad soap opera, until she started stepping backwards. She was so big that her rear foot was still keeping the door open, but she was through the gear room and her nose was in the next room, our greenhouse/mudroom, just inches from my barrel. After many roaring protests on her part and yelling and gun waving on my part, she backed out the door and I shot her with a paintball, which caused her jump and turn. She ran while I got two more shots. She came back an hour later, and tried to open the locked patio levered door again. I watched in fascination with her dexterity on the levered knob, moving it around carefully while she leaned her full weight into the door in pulses. Frustrated, she went for the second door, where we had removed the knob to keep her out. On this one she just tried to break it in with her weight, but was clearly pissed. When she looked away to listen to our neighbors dog bark, I quickly opened the door and was able to get in three good shots.
All of this chaos makes me feel sad for the bears. Bears are getting killed because of our invasion on their home. Negligent people who left their trash out without bear-proof latches caused these bears to learn to rely on human garbage. Now that they can’t find the garbage, the are forced to look elsewhere in our cars and houses.
All this said, I find it completely ironic that I have never even seen a bear in Colorado!