Bear shooting rattles Bachelor Gulch
BACHELOR GULCH – The Aug. 31 shooting of a bear in Bachelor Gulch still echoes among residents in the upscale enclave.The Colorado Division of Wildlife continues to investigate the incident, in which homeowner John Tietbohl shot and wounded a bear outside his Daybreak Ridge home. Tietbohl told officers the bear had been trying to get into his home, then charged him as he was getting into his car that evening. Tietbohl, who had been carrying a 9-millimeter pistol as a sidearm to protect himself from the bear, shot and hit the animal, which left a trail of blood as it ran off.Earlier in the day, Bachelor Gulch security officers had repeatedly sprayed pepper spray at the bear near Tietbohl’s house, but the animal stayed around. The bear also reportedly slipped into Tietbohl’s garage in the days before it was shot.The shooting came just a week after wildlife officers had killed a bear in Beaver Creek that had several times entered a home on Fairway Drive.Following the shooting, wildlife officers also set a live trap near Tietbohl’s home. A mother bear was caught in the trap on Sept. 10. The animal was tranquilized, tagged and relocated. If the tagged bear is captured again in a residential area, it will be killed.The trapping and shooting at Tietbohl’s house have residents upset with their neighbor.”It was just an innocent bear that was lured into a trap that had food in it,” neighbor Jamie Hinds said. Hinds, who took photos of the trapped bear, said she and most of the Bachelor Gulch residents she knows prefer a live-and-let-live approach to living in prime bear habitat.
While the homeowners’ association rules at Bachelor Gulch require residents to bring out their trash cans only the morning of trash day and put them back in the evening, Hinds said bears in the area can break into garages. To keep them away, she said, she keeps her smelly trash in the freezer until trash day, then takes it out.While that sounds extreme, local wildlife officer Bill Andree said bears are prowling through virtually every neighborhood in the valley. A late-spring frost killed off much of the area’s natural forage. Given that scarcity of natural food, local bears are now roaming through residential areas to satisfy their ursine munchies, in which they pack in as many as 20,000 calories a day, But dealing with bears isn’t tough.”It’s not like it’s a tough thing to solve,” Andree said, again reeling off the steps recommended to keep bears away (see box). And residents get reminders about living in bear country, Bachelor Gulch Vice President of Operations Bill Simmons said. “We send information to property owners occasionally,” Simmons said. “We may be firing off another round soon.”But another resident said she doesn’t need more information, although she wondered if Tietbohl might. (Tietbohl, contacted while traveling Thursday, said he’d said all he had to say in a previous article about the incident.)”Our community is profoundly saddened,” resident Betsy Hendrikson said. “We’re privileged to live among the wildlife. Shooting a bear is a crime against nature.”Moreover, she added, there’s a lot of concern a firearm was discharged in the residential area. The Bachelor Gulch covenants prohibit using firearms, Simmons said. But, he added, there are exceptions regarding self-defense.
Through the neighbors’ worries, the investigation continues.”We’re trying to put the facts together,” Andree said. “We didn’t see a food source at the house, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. It’s a new house, so we’ll never know if a construction crew was feeding it or if a neighbor with a bird feeder attracted it.”But when you live in good bear habitat, you’d better expect bears.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or firstname.lastname@example.org.==================Bear basics:• Black bears eat almost anything• Once bears have a taste for garbage, pet food and other easy meals, they’ll return to the site of the buffet, especially just before and after hibernation.• Keep bears away by:
– Using bear-proof trash containers- Bringing in barbecue grills, pet food and hummingbird feeders at night• If a bear doesn’t find food in a neighborhood, it will move onSource: Colorado Division of Wildlife=============================Vail Daily, Vail Colorado
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.