Rulison family worried after bear kills pig
RULISON – A bear killed a young pig Wednesday morning, a Rulison resident said.Ed Hoaglund, who lives on County Road 309, said the 70- to 80-pound pig was attacked in its pen around dawn. He found the pig’s remains around an hour later.No one witnessed the attack, but Hoaglund’s son saw the bear in the vicinity around the time of the attack.The Hoaglunds also had seen the bear, apparently a yearling, a few days earlier.”At the time we didn’t realize it was a killer bear,” Hoaglund said.The Hoaglunds reported the incident to the Colorado Division of Wildlife. DOW spokesman Randy Hampton said an officer was busy on another call but expected to respond by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.The DOW reimburses people who lose livestock to bear. They also are allowed to shoot bear caught attacking livestock.Hoaglund said he is prepared to do that, and is worried about his chickens, calves and other livestock. He doubts that it would do any good for the DOW to relocate the bear.”Once one gets started like that, if they trap them and move them they’re going to come right back to the area,” he said.In 1995, Hoaglund shot another bear that had paid repeat visits, got into a chicken coop and destroyed an outside refrigerator. His wife, Ida, said it had killed lambs on nearby Morrisania Mesa and was relocated to Garfield Creek, but returned.”It was one of these bears that just kept coming back,” she said.She said they scared it off about three times one night but it kept returning.The Hoaglunds had another bear visit last year, but it didn’t come back, she said.Hampton said the DOW’s response to the situation will depend on what the officer finds. In general, it could range from making recommendations to a landowner to help prevent problems with bears, to relocating a bear or killing one that continues to be a problem.Bears came out of hibernation earlier this spring. Hampton said they usually mostly drink water for a few weeks, then primarily eat grasses before their appetites kick in.”Then they’ll eat whatever they get their hands on,” he said.People would do well to remember that bears are hungry after hibernating.”We’d really encourage them to make sure they’re doing all those bear-safe things, watching the trash, bird feeders, barbecue grills, standard bear stuff,” he said.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.