Vail Valley: Bear caught, killed in Wolcott | VailDaily.com
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Vail Valley: Bear caught, killed in Wolcott

Wren Wertin/Special to the DailyThis Vail Valley bear was recently spotted in the Bellyache neighborhood above Wolcott. Wildlife officials captured and euthanized a bear in the neighborhood Friday.
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado – Wildlife officials euthanized a bear in Bellyache on Friday after weeks of bear problems in the neighborhood and elsewhere in Vail Valley.

A trap was set Thursday night, capturing a female that weighed about 125 pounds. The bear was killed because it was considered a “human safety risk,” said Craig Westoatt of the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Officials found that the bear had been eating lots of bird feed, Westcoatt said.

“The problems have kind of increased in the last five or six days as far as where bears are on decks and in homes,” he said.

One bear recently broke through a screen door and into a kitchen where a resident was cooking, Wescoatt said. Bears have been trying to pry open windows, too, he said. After residents shooed them away from their homes, the bears would return again and again, Westcoatt said.

“Their behavior is abnormal in that they’re not exactly being spooked away from people,” he said.

There are apparently two bears that have been causing problems in the neighborhood, Wescoatt said. If the problems persist, wildlife officials may return and set another trap, he said.

Mary Anne Metternick, president of the Bellyache Ridge Homeowners Association, said the neighborhood has been having bear problems for about a month.

The bear “had been on several people’s decks,” including her own, Metternick said.

Residents are conscientious about making sure bears can’t get to trash, bird feeders or other food sources, she said. That includes using bear-resistant trash cans, she said.

Jerry Neal, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said the wet spring and early summer have translated to a lots of natural food, such as berries, for bears. But some bears have developed bad habits in previous years, and are returning to residential areas to look for food, he said.

“It remains critically important that residents remain vigilant about removing potential food sources that attract bears to residential areas,” Neal said.

That includes keeping grills clean and refraining from feeding birds until the winter, Neal said.

Another bear had to be euthanized this year after it was eating trash and breaking into homes in the Edwards trailer park, Westcoatt said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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