(TRINIDAD, Colo.) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is searching for a black bear that bit a man late Saturday night on Aug. 5.

CPW was notified of a bear attack at a campground in the Purgatoire River bottoms east of Interstate 25 after 10 p.m. The man told CPW officers he was relaxing in a hammock when he heard a rustling noise. He then turned on his headlamp and saw a dark-colored bear. The bear bit the camper on the upper right arm before wandering off.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife hunting bear that bit camper in Trinidad
Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife

The victim left the area and went to a motel before calling an ambulance, which took him to a hospital for treatment. His injury appeared to be a two to three-inch bite, said CPW.

Area Wildlife Manager, Mike Brown, said bear attacks are rare but taken seriously. According to CPW policy, any bear that attacks a human is classified as a dangerous bear and must be humanely euthanized if captured.

“We are doing everything we can to locate this bear,” stated Brown. “And we continue to investigate the incident. Luckily, the victim’s injury appears to be relatively minor.”

According to the camper, there was no food or other attractants with him in the hammock that might have lured the bear.

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

This is the third reported bear attack in Colorado in 2023, said CPW. The public is advised to be aware of bear activity when camping. Bears that have previously found food from a tent may attempt to enter even if no attractants are present, said CPW.

Here are tips to avoid problems for yourself and bears, according to CPW:

  • 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 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 including all foods, bever­ages, chapstick, scented toiletries, gum, toothpaste, sunscreen, candles and insect repellant. Don’t sleep in 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 CPW’s website at the link above.