CPW sets trap for bear that entered west Steamboat home

A bear broke into home through an open window on June, 29, 2022, in west Steamboat Springs. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a trap set to attempt to catch the bear, which will be euthanized if caught.
Christy Bubenheim/Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The morning of Wednesday, June 29, Colorado Parks and Wildlife got a call that a bear had entered a home on Indian Trail in west Steamboat Springs, according to Christy Bubenheim, administrative assistant at CPW in Steamboat Springs. The bear entered the home through an open window and snacked on Nutella, Tostitos and more, tracking its messy paws on the floors, as documented in photos from Bubenheim.

The bear was no longer on scene when CPW arrived, so staff set a trap for the bear. If the bear is caught, it will be euthanized. 

“Since it did break into a house, albeit through an open window, it did make entry into the home, so we would need to euthanize it,” Bubenheim said. 

Generally, traps are set for no more than three days, as CPW doesn’t want to lure in and trap a nontarget bear. It is currently the only trap set by CPW, although the agency has attempted to trap six bears so far this summer. 

Two of those target bears were euthanized as they, too, entered homes. Bubenheim said those numbers are fairly standard, but a new trend has started to catch her attention. 

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Last week, two bears were hit by cars in the middle of the day. Neither of the two bears died, but car-bear collisions are still on her radar, as last year, there were nine such incidents. 

“That was the first year I had noticed it being a real issue,” she said. “Last year, I was like, ‘Holy man, people are hitting bears left and right.’”

It isn’t abnormal for bears to be out during the day. They aren’t nocturnal, as some people suspect. 

“They’re just typically gonna be out when they encounter the least resistance,” Bubenheim said. “Typically bears are more active at night. Plus, if you had a big 100-pound fur coat you wouldn’t want to be out when it’s 90 degrees outside.”

As to why bears are crossing roads, Bubenheim cannot guess. 

“I can’t speculate as to why the bear crossed the road,” she said. “But it was probably to get to the other side.”

She can guess that bears will always follow their nose and will capitalize on an open window, or unlocked car if they are intrigued by the smell of food. Cars, homes and ground level windows should be locked, and trash should be disposed of in a bear-proof container.

While the bears are the ones suffering the consequences of their actions, humans can take actions to prevent them from taking such action.

“Unless people’s behavior changes, we’re going to have to keep doing the same thing,” Bubenheim said.

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