Bear attacks 72-year-old woman |

Bear attacks 72-year-old woman

J.K. Perry

VAIL ” Bears broke into two East Vail homes Thursday, eating food at the first and swatting at a 72-year-old woman cooking a pot roast in the second, Vail police reported.

A bear entered a Snowshoe Lane home through the front door and ate food on the kitchen counter, said Vail police Sgt. Dan Torgerson. The bear left when it saw the residents.

Several minutes later, a bear entered a home just northwest of Snowshoe Lane on Meadow Lane. The resident, an unidentified 72-year-old woman, went into the kitchen and found herself six feet from the bear. The bear hissed, closed the gap and struck the woman on her chest and right arm, Torgerson said.

The woman suffered minor scratches on her arm.

“If the bear was trying to hurt her, it very easily could have,” Torgerson said. “I think it was just surprised.”

The bear stood fast, so the woman yelled and clapped her hands. The bear hissed again before leaving through the side door where it entered, Torgerson said.

The woman then discovered a cub in the house, which she pushed out the door, Torgerson said.

Colorado Division of Wildlife officers suspect the two bears are one and the same, division spokesman Randy Hampton said, adding outside trash wasn’t found at either home.

Police later found the contents of a resident’s trash can on Main Gore Drive strewn about, presumably by a bear, Torgerson said. The resident was cited for violating Vail’s wildlife ordinance.

The owners refused to let wildlife officers set traps at the homes. The bear will be euthanized if captured and the cub also might be euthanized, or relocated, Hampton said.

“It really is a public safety issue when we’ve got bears breaking into houses,” Hampton said. “I know people don’t want the bears to be killed … but if we don’t have the tools to deal with (aggressive bears) it puts people at risk.”

At this time leading up to winter hibernation, bears spend 20 hours of every day eating 20,000 calories, Hampton said. That equates to nearly 20 McDonald’s Big Mac meals.

“These bears right now are eating machines,” Hampton said.

Natural food sources are plentiful now, but bears will take advantage of human food if it’s available, Hampton said.

“This is a bear that’s learned and a bear that’s taught its cub,” Hampton said.

Vail police ask people not to leave out trash, which attracts the bears.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or

Vail, Colorado

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