Copycat Bear Complaints Get Colorado Parks and Wildlife Investigations

By Henderson, Liz | The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), August 16, 2019 | Go to article overview

Copycat Bear Complaints Get Colorado Parks and Wildlife Investigations


Henderson, Liz, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO)


She said she didn't know if the bear was still chasing her, but after "what felt like an hour" of running, a Colorado Springs woman couldn't believe the beast hadn't caught up.

So she said in a call to The Gazette, one day after Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued a detailed account about its search for an aggressive bear reported at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

The woman said the chase began Aug. 9 along Spruce Mountain Trail, just outside of Palmer Lake. About an hour into the hike, she claimed, she came face-to-face with an adult black bear. It moved toward her and, "I just panicked." Despite what she'd been taught, she said, she ran in the opposite direction as fast as she could.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials investigated extensively — interviewing other hikers, searching the trail and looking for bear tracks — but found no evidence of any bear, let alone an aggressive one.

So the agency dropped the investigation. Out of an abundance of caution, though, officials posted "potential bear activity" signs along the trail, said Jason Clay, a spokesman for Parks and Wildlife.

Parks and Wildlife receives a flurry of calls about aggressive animals immediately after animal attacks are publicized, said area wildlife manager Frank McGee. No matter what, the agency investigates every report.

"We have to take all of these reports seriously," McGee said. "We can't assume that it didn't actually happen."

At Red Rock Canyon Open Space, a hiker told Parks and Wildlife officials that on Aug. 8, a bear emerged from brush alongside the Section 16 trail and pursued his dog. The hiker said he managed to kick the bear in the head in the scuffle, falling to the ground just before a second blow to the head sent the bear into retreat. …

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