A man relaxing in hammock at a campground in the Purgatoire River bottoms east of Interstate 25 in Trinidad, Colorado was bitten in the arm by a black bear.

The victim told park rangers that he was chilling in the hammock when he heard a noise, turned on his headlamp and saw a bear next to him. The man said the bear then bit him on the upper right arm. After delivering the bite the bear turned and wandered off.  

The man then left the campgrounds and went to a motel before calling an ambulance. Park rangers said he was taken to the hospital with a two to three-inch bite on his arm.The victim said he had no food that might have lured the bear. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife are searching for a black bear in question due to their policy that any bear that attacks a human is classified as dangerous and must be euthanized if captured. 

“Bear attacks are rare and we take them very seriously. We are doing everything we can to locate this bear. And we continue to investigate the incident. Luckily, the victim’s injury appears to be relatively minor.” – Mike Brown, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager

CPW is reminding the public to always be aware of potential bear activity when camping in Colorado. 

COLORADO PARKS & WILDLIFE STATEMENT:

Aug. 6, 2023

CPW hunts bear that bit a camper as he relaxed in a hammock; victim treated at a hospital

TRINIDAD, Colo. – Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are searching for a black bear that bit the arm of a man relaxing in a hammock late Saturday night at a campground in the Purgatoire River bottoms east of Interstate 25 in Trinidad.

CPW was notified of the bear attack after 10 p.m. and immediately began a search of the campground. Dogs were called in to initiate a hunt in the area.

“Bear attacks are rare and we take them very seriously,” said Mike Brown, CPW’s Area Wildlife Manager for the region. “We are doing everything we can to locate this bear. And we continue to investigate the incident. Luckily, the victim’s injury appears to be relatively minor.”

Under CPW policy, any bear that attacks a human is classified as a dangerous bear and, if captured, must be humanely euthanized.

The man told CPW Wildlife Officers that he was in a hammock Saturday night when he heard a rustling noise, turned on his head lamp and saw a dark-colored bear next to him. The man said the bear bit him on the upper right arm, turned and wandered off.

The victim left the campground and went to a motel before calling an ambulance, which took him to a hospital for treatment of a wound on his arm. His injury appeared to be a 2-3 inch bite.

The victim told CPW he had no food or other attractants with him in the hammock that might have lured the bear.

Two CPW officers responded, set a trap for the bear in case it returned to the campground and called in an agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) with a team of dogs to search for the bear.

WATCH: Camping and Hiking in Bear Country.

CPW advises the public to always be aware of potential bear activity when camping in Colorado. Bears that have previously found a food reward from a tent may attempt to enter even if no attractants are present.

To avoid problems for yourself and bears, make sure there’s nothing to attract bears to your camp.

  • Stash Your Trash. Use bear-proof containers when available. If they’re full, double bag trash and lock it in your trunk or RV. Never leave trash outside.
  • Store Attractants Safely. Store food, beverages and toiletries in air-tight containers and lock them in your trunk. Many bears have discovered that coolers, bags and boxes are full of food; never leave them in your tent or anywhere a bear could see, smell or reach.
  • Keep a Clean Camp. Bears are attracted to odors of all kinds and will investigate anything interesting in hopes of finding food.
  • Keep a Clean Tent. Don’t bring anything with an odor into your tent – that includes all foods, bever­ages, chapstick, scented toiletries, gum, toothpaste, sunscreen, candles and insect repellant. Don’t sleep in the clothes you cooked in; store them with your food.
  • Lock RVs and Vehicles. Close windows and lock your vehicle and RV when you leave your campsite and at night before you go to sleep.

For more information on camping and hiking in Bear Country, visit the CPW website.

This is the third reported bear attack in Colorado in 2023.

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