Crestone Eagle, August 2004:
Bears are a problem again; several
homes broken into by bold bruins
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.
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