Wildlife officers question suspect in bear shooting | PostIndependent.com

Wildlife officers question suspect in bear shooting

Scott CondonPitkin County CorrespondentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY State wildlife officers said Monday that they have questioned a suspect in the shooting of a bear yearling at Lazy Glen mobile home park Saturday.Kevin Wright, an officer with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said he will consult with the Pitkin County branch of the district attorney’s office later this week to determine whether to issue a ticket. He declined to discuss details of the case because it is under investigation.Wildlife officers were called to Lazy Glen around 3:30 p.m. Saturday for a report that a bear had been shot and killed. Wildlife officer Kelly Wood said she found a yearling of between 40 and 50 pounds dead outside at the trailer park.It was a rough two days for bears in the area. A vehicle struck and killed another yearling while it was trying to cross Highway 82 on Friday morning.Wood said there have been regular sightings of two yearlings and an adult at Lazy Glen this spring. Wright said he responded there earlier this month on reports of bears rummaging in the area. When he responded, he found unsecured trash cans and overflowing debris at some of the units.Wright sees a direct connection between the deaths of the yearlings and lack of compliance with Pitkin County regulations on securing trash and taking other bear-friendly actions.”Yeah, there’s been a compliance issue in Lazy Glen,” Wright said. “The only reason the bears are going in there are artificial food sources.”The trash hauler for the neighborhood has supplied each residence with a garbage container that locks with a clasp. Wright said many of them weren’t locked on the day he investigated earlier this month. He distributed materials that urge people to comply so that encounters with wildlife can be avoided.”People are too lazy to clip the clips,” Wright said.Lazy Glen resident Carmen Riley attested to that. She said compliance was high last year, but this year many residents in Lazy Glen didn’t get into the habit of securing their trash. “There’s no enforcement from the homeowners association whatsoever,” Riley said.She said she raised the issue with the homeowners board but received no reply. She then took matters into her own hands.”I found the easiest thing to do is go around on my bike and lock the cans that aren’t locked,” Riley said. Compliance improved among some homeowners; others didn’t get the hint.She confirmed several sightings of an adult bear and yearling at Lazy Glen this spring. She said they were scouting her yard on Sunday, May 6. She sprayed them in the face with a garden hose and never experienced a problem again.Riley was unfamiliar with the circumstances of the bear shooting on Saturday, but doubted it was necessary. The bears wouldn’t have been attracted if people disposed of garbage properly, she said, and the bears could have been chased away without shooting one.”I don’t think anybody has to pull a shotgun in a congested area like this and shoot a bear that’s no bigger than a dog,” Riley said.She said she hopes one of her neighbors gets prosecuted for the shooting.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.

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