BLACK FOREST, Colo. (KXRM)— A Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officer helped a bear find its way back into the forest after the bear wedged itself underneath a family’s front porch on Sunday, Sept. 18.
CPW posted the video on Twitter, and explained how CPW Officer Corey Adler “hazed” the bear after it ran out from underneath the porch, rather than tranquilizing and handling it, which would have resulted in the bear’s first “strike.”
In the video, Officer Adler uses paintballs and the noise of a taser, as well as forceful footsteps on the porch to coax the bear out of its hiding place. Once the bear emerges, the officer then “hazes” it – scaring the bear into avoiding humans in the future.
“Our officer not only drove [the bear] away from the porch, he pursued it to haze it and restore its natural fear of humans,” said CPW Public Information Officer Bill Vogrin. “And he did the bear a big favor by not handling it. Had he tranquilized it and moved it, the bear would have been ear-tagged. That means, if it ever got in trouble again, it would be euthanized.”
Vogrin said the family originally reached out because they thought the bear was stuck underneath the porch, but instead the bear was simply hiding in the shade during the heat of the day. Vogrin said CPW’s concern comes when a bear gets too comfortable around people and starts to view them as a source of food.
“We want to avoid that scenario. So when we see a bear getting comfortable around humans, we intervene to restore that fear,” said Vogrin. “This neighborhood is surrounded by forest. The bear belongs in the forest, not cozy under a porch.”
Vogrin said if you see a bear on your own property, you can snap a photo from a safe distance, then scare it away.
“From the doorway of your home or a window, yell at the bear. Rattle pots and pans. We encourage use of ‘rattle cans’ — simply soda cans filled halfway with gravel. Toss them near a bear to scare them away,” Vogrin suggested.
CPW also encourages you to figure out what about your property is attracting bears and remedy it. Removing birdfeeders, greasy barbecue grills, pet food, and fruit from trees or gardens, as well as keeping your garage closed to prevent bears from entering and ransacking your garage refrigerator or other food storage containers.
CPW has plenty of Bear Aware tips on their website, which you can find here.