400-pound black bear found under deck in Durango


Just a few days after 747 was crowned the Fat Bear Week champion, a black bear in southwest Colorado tried to steal the spotlight.

On Wednesday, a 400-pound black bear was found trying to set up shop for the winter under a deck in a Durango neighborhood on the northwest side of town.

“Bears start to look for a good place to den for the winter this time of year,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said. “Under the deck of a home in a residential Durango neighborhood is not a suitable den location.”

Officials said the bear was at least 10 years old and one of the largest male bears they’ve seen in town.

It took five CPW staff members and a tranquilizer dart to get the bear out from under the deck and into the trailer for relocation.

After a quick medical exam, the bear was driven 60 miles away to a spot where he can have plenty of good food and is unlikely to encounter hunters this season.

Officials also used Wednesday’s incident to remind Coloradans to be mindful of bear attractants as the animals are in hyperphagia ahead of the winter.

“While we haven’t had to handle many bears in Durango this year, this highlights the importance of removing attractants around your home,” officials said. “Bears are looking to bulk up these final weeks before denning for winter. Be sure to pick up fallen fruit, safely secure trash and remove bird feeders. You really don’t want a bear of this size in your yard.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife received 3,614 bear reports from April 1 through Oct. 1, 2022, an increase of nearly 460 reports from 2021, and this year’s numbers will only increase during the hyperphagia period, in which bears will spend up to 20 hours a day on the hunt for 20,000 calories.

“Bears are biologically driven to pack on calories in preparation for winter and they spend increasing amounts of time looking for the most efficient way to get food,” said Area 8 Wildlife Manager Matt Yamashita, whose region includes Eagle and Pitkin counties. “Residents must realize it is their responsibility to secure their trash, remove other food attractants such as bird feeders, and protect backyard livestock with appropriate electric fencing to avoid conflicts that arise from attracting bears to homes.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers several resources to help residents be Bear Aware.


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