Two bears killed in separate incidents, one struck by cyclist in Aspen area |

Two bears killed in separate incidents, one struck by cyclist in Aspen area

This year has been an active one for bear sightings all over Colorado. Vail's bear reports have risen sharply from 2018.
Joani White/Special to The Aspen Times |

A stretch starting Thursday and ending Friday kept the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office plenty busy with two black bear fatalities and a cyclist colliding with a bruin.

It started at roughly 7 p.m. Thursday in Redstone. There, the dwellers of a home had been pestered so much by a bear that they obtained a license from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to shoot the animal. And that’s what one of the residents did, said Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Levi Borst.

“It was a problem bear that had been trying to break into their residence and some outer buildings,” Borst said Friday. “They got a permit (from the state) to put the bear down, and when it came again, they shot it and killed it.”

Later Thursday evening, a 25-year-old man was riding his bicycle on a road at the Aspen Business Center. A passer-by warned him that he was about to strike the bear, but it was too late.

“He was coming from Roxy’s Market and hit the bear,” Deputy Erin Smiddy said.

An ambulance arrived, but the man refused medical treatment, Smiddy said.

“He had cuts on his head and a couple of cuts on his back and arm, but nothing that required stitches,” Smiddy said.

The bear that was hit was with two other bears, Smiddy said, adding that it was uncertain whether the bear that was hit was an adult or a cub. Whatever the case, the animal wasn’t hurt, she said.

“It’s unfortunate for that mom and cubs,” Smiddy said. “They’ve been really well-behaved.”

Smiddy noted that a third cub has been part of that group but that it wasn’t in the vicinity Thursday.

And sometime after 1 a.m. Friday, a motorist driving a Jeep Cherokee westbound on Highway 82 near the Pitkin County Landfill struck and killed a bear, Borst said.

“The bear was crossing the highway and by the time the driver saw it, it looked like shadows moving through,” Borst said. “All she could do was hit it.”

The woman wasn’t hurt, and the Jeep was towed away. The bear didn’t appear to be too large, “only a few hundred pounds,” Borst said.

While there have been ample bear sightings and encounters over the past few weeks, Borst said that the six- or seven-hour stretch from Thursday into early Friday was unusual.

“It’s the time of the year — the witching hour for hibernation — and they are definitely active now,” the deputy said. “But for that to happen in a span of hours isn’t common.”

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