TRINIDAD, CO — In a rare and unsettling incident, a camper was bitten by a black bear while he was relaxing in a hammock at a campground in the Purgatoire River bottoms east of Interstate 25. The incident occurred late Saturday night and has prompted a hunt for the bear involved.
According to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), the bear attack was reported shortly after 10 p.m. The victim recalled hearing a rustling noise while in the hammock. On turning on his headlamp, he found a dark-colored bear next to him, which subsequently bit him on the upper right arm before wandering away.
The victim, who had not lured the bear with food or any other attractants, received a 2-3 inch bite wound on his arm. After the incident, he moved to a motel and subsequently called an ambulance, which transported him to a hospital for treatment.
Mike Brown, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the region, remarked, “Bear attacks are rare and we take them very seriously.” Brown added that they are making every effort to locate the bear and are investigating the incident further.
As per CPW’s policy, any bear that attacks a human is deemed dangerous. If captured, such a bear must be humanely euthanized.
To capture the bear, two CPW officers have set a trap at the campground. Additionally, an agent from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) was called in with a team of dogs to comb the area.
This incident is the third reported bear attack in Colorado this year.
Wildlife Safety Tips While Camping in Bear Country
CPW urges campers to be vigilant of potential bear activities in Colorado. Following are some safety tips to ensure a safe experience in the wilderness:
Stash Your Trash: Always use bear-proof containers. If these containers are full, ensure trash is double bagged and securely locked in a trunk or RV.
Store Attractants Safely: Keep food, beverages, and toiletries in airtight containers, securely locked away from bear access. Avoid leaving items like coolers, bags, or boxes in visible or reachable areas.
Maintain a Clean Campsite: Bears are drawn to various odors. Ensure that your camping area remains clean to avoid unwelcome visitors.
Maintain a Clean Tent: Avoid taking anything with a scent into your tent. This list includes food, beverages, toiletries, and even clothes you cooked in.
Secure RVs and Vehicles: Ensure windows are closed and vehicles are locked, especially during nighttime.
For detailed guidelines on camping and hiking in areas frequented by bears, individuals are encouraged to visit the CPW website.