The Crestone Eagle, August 2004:

Bears are a problem again; several homes broken into by bold bruins
by Keno

The bears are back in town again this summer, and Baca resident Roni Chernin has had two close encounters so far. The first one was with a bear family—a mother, a junior (looking like he or she was dusted with confectioners sugar) and a baby who was not much larger than a dog. They ambled around the side of her house, skirted the compost, went behind the garden, (probably checking on the status of the berries) and then back on up the mountain.

The second visit was while she was baking a cake. “It smelled really good, I don't blame them!” says Chernin. That was the big guy (see photo) who came across the front yard, went around the side of the house, and then took the same route up the mountain as the previous visitors.

Bears have been reported in several other locations throughout town in the last couple of months. One was spotted more than once on Moonlight Way. They have been prowling dumpsters after hours in downtown Crestone, dogs have chased off a few on “Hippy Hill” and just about every night they have been getting into people’s trash cans on Chaparral Way.

A local bee keeper was awakened at 6am by the sound of a ravenous bear in his yard, going through an old bee hive. He jumped naked out of bed, put on a pair of boots and ran out of the house after the bear. “Seeing a naked white guy must have scared the bear to death, as it ran away in a hurry!” says the wishing-to-be-unidentified bee keeper.

There have been at least two homes broken into in the last two months. A house up on Rendevous Way, which had been broken into two years earlier, got a repeat visit in early July. Mary Lowers, the home’s caretaker, found that after the bear had torn apart two screens, it then managed to open up a closed, sliding window on the opposite side of the house from the kitchen.

Once inside, it made its way through the house to get to the kitchen. There, it tore into the freezer, emptied everything out of it, and then hit the pantry. The kitchen was in shambles, and they ended up throwing all the food into the trash, using a snow shovel to scoop everything up. “The bear ate lots of frozen meat; there were T-bone steak bones everywhere, even out on the porch,” says Lowers.

Ron Rivele, the local District Manager with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, says a bear getting into a closed, unlocked window is not unheard of. They just figure out how to get into places. He remembers one bear in the area years ago, who pulled the trim off a house to get into a closed garage where trash cans were stored. According to Rivele, so far this summer bear encounters are actually in decline, although at this time last year, no homes were broken into yet (three homes would have bear break-ins by the fall).

Rivele guesses that this upcoming fall will be at least average here in town, as far as bear encounters go, so always be on the look out and take precautions. He says for homes hit by bears more than once, electric shock seems to work best. If you can get an electrician to place an electric trigger by your windows, that works great, they will not return once they get a shock like that.

Back to Archives Page

Subscribe to the Eagle!