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Search underway for bear after incident near Trinidad Friday

Black bear. Courtesy National Park Service

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are searching for a bear that swatted a woman sometime early Friday as she, her husband and their child were sleeping in a tent at Monument Lake Resort, about 37 miles west of Trinidad.

The woman suffered scratches to her head after the bear swatted at the tent, striking her through the fabric. The woman was not seriously injured and did not seek medical attention.

CPW was alerted to the attack on Friday morning. District Wildlife Manager Bob Holder responded to the call and interviewed the victim who said she heard a bear sniffing around the campground where they were staying at the resort.

The victim reported that around 2 a.m., the bear stepped on a beach ball outside the tent, popping it. The noise woke the victim’s 2-year-old daughter, who started crying. The victim moved her daughter to comfort her, likely brushing the side of the tent.


The bear reacted by swatting at the movement, tearing the tent fabric and scratching the victim on the head. Then the bear wandered off.

Upon inspecting the scene, Holder discovered four tears in the tent fabric as well as mud and dirt at the base of the tent fabric.

Because the bear made contact with a human, it is classified under CPW policy as an attack. If found, the bear will be euthanized.

“This is an unfortunate incident because the bear was not aggressively pursuing the victim,” said Mike Brown, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the region. “The local District Wildlife Manager has set a trap in the campground in hopes of catching this bear.”

In addition, CPW called in agents with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) with a team of dogs to search for the bear. As of Saturday morning, search efforts were unsuccessful.

“If the bear intended to harm the woman, the outcome would have been much worse,” Brown said. “The evidence of the investigation illustrates that bears react to the environment they live in.”

Holder said bears will occasionally respond to movement in an occupied tent. He recommends campers sleep away from the walls of the tent to avoid such tent movements.