Aggressive bear that bit Aspen hiker tracked and killed by wildlife officials

Posted at 3:45 PM, May 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-31 10:24:19-04

ASPEN, Colo. – An aggressive bear that bit a hiker Monday morning in Aspen has been killed.

State wildlife officials had been looking for the bear since Memorial Day after it bit a woman on the thigh as she and her husband hiked on the Hunter Creek Trail near Lone Pine Road that morning.

The attack happened as the hikers were walking back on the trail and the animal approached in their direction. The woman says they tried to give the bear space and stepped off the trail, but as the bear walked by, it suddenly turned, charged and bit her before it ran off. Wildlife officers said the woman’s bite wound did not appear serious.

Considering the attacked occurred in Aspen, officials said, it was possible the bear might enter city limits before it was found and urged residents to be on alert.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. Thursday, witnesses reported seeing a bear that closely matched the description of the one involved in the attack close to the same trailhead, according to a news release from CPW.

Officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services tracked the bear’s trail throughout the morning and killed it on Highway 82 near the intersection of McSkimming Road just before 1 p.m., CPW officials said in the release.

CPW officers will take the carcass to the agency's Wildlife Health Laboratory for a full necropsy, then to a laboratory in Wyoming for DNA testing.

“By policy and to protect human health and safety, CPW officers are required to euthanize any wild animal that has injured a human, regardless of the circumstances,” a spokesperson for the agency said. “Relocation is not an option due to the agency’s dangerous bear policy and concerns the bear would resume its aggressive behavior in its new territory."