Steamboat bear attack
Steamboat bear attack

“This incident serves as a good reminder that bears are active in Steamboat Springs.” –Colorado Parks and Wildlife

A man walking near Steamboat Resort about 9:45 a.m. Tuesday morning was swiped from behind and knocked to the ground by a black bear. The man had seen the bear in the area prior to the attack and believed it to be a yearling.

The Denver Gazette reports the man scraped his arm in the fall but finished his walk before addressing his injury. Colorado Parks and Wildlife responded to the attack which is believed to be the first reported bear attack of the season.

Wildlife officials have set up bear traps and posted signs to warn the public of increased bear activity. No bears have been trapped as of Wednesday morning. The investigation into the situation is ongoing.

Here’s a quick reminder of how to stay bear aware:

If You Surprise a Bear on a Trail

  • Stand still, stay calm and let the bear identify you and leave. Talk in a normal tone of voice. Be sure the bear has an escape route.
  • Never run or climb a tree. 
  • If you see cubs, their mother is usually close by. Leave the area immediately.

If the Bear Doesn’t Leave 

  • A bear standing up is just trying to identify what you are by getting a better look and smell. 
  • Wave your arms slowly overhead and talk calmly. If the bear huffs, pops it jaws or stomps a paw, it wants you to give it space. 
  • Step off the trail to the downhill side, keep looking at the bear and slowly back away until the bear is out of sight.

If the Bear Approaches

  • A bear knowingly approaching a person could be a food-conditioned bear looking for a handout or, very rarely, an aggressive bear. Don’t feed this type of bear: instead, stand your ground. Yell or throw small rocks in the direction of the bear.
  • Get out your bear spray and use it when the bear is about 40 feet away. 
  • If you’re attacked, don’t play dead. Fight back with anything available. People have successfully defended them­selves with pen knives, trekking poles, and even bare hands.

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