Marble, Colorado

From the Aspen Daily News of October 5, 2007

Marble man shoots mother bear and cub

A man shot and killed a mother black bear and then one of her cubs as each one separately tried to break into his Marble-area cabin over the course of last weekend, according to state wildlife officials.

“The sow was tearing apart the floor of the (elevated) cabin and coming in from underneath” while the man, an employee of OutWest Guides, was home early Saturday morning, according to Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton. Hampton said no obvious food or garbage attractants were around the cabin to entice the bear.

The DOW managed to catch two of the dead sow’s three cubs and take them to a wildlife rehabilitation center in Silt, Hampton said, but the biggest cub remained at large and returned to the man’s cabin late Sunday night, where it allegedly tried to break in.

“The individual was afraid and shot the cub,” Hampton said.

The cub weighed about 50 or 60 pounds and was strong enough to break into the house despite its small size, Hampton said. “Think of it this way: Imagine if you had a 60-pound dog coming in the window growling.”

It’s illegal to shoot black bears out of season or without a hunting license, but a state statute allows people to shoot bears in self defense.

“We have determined that the individual in their house feared for their safety,” Hampton said. “They were within their legal rights to protect themselves. If additional facts come to light, that could change things. But for the present time, our investigation is done,”

Because the DOW did not issue the man a citation, his name will not be released.

It is possible that the DOW would have had to kill the mother bear anyway because of her unusually aggressive behavior, Hampton said. Bears that break through walls, floors or locked doors or windows must be put down under state law.



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