Colorado Authorities Hunt Aggressive Bear That Attacked Woman Hiking Near Aspen

Brown bears fishing for salmon at Brooks Falls on September 16, 2018 in Katmai National Park, Alaska. A search is underway for an aggressive bear which bit a woman as she hiked near Aspen, Colorado. Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images

State authorities are searching for an aggressive bear which bit a woman while she was hiking near Aspen, according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

The woman was attacked as she was walking on the Hunter Creek Trail near Lone Pine Road at around 9:15 a.m. on May 27.

The woman was bit on the thigh by the animal and did not suffer serious injuries. The CPW said in a statement that the woman, who has not been identified, at first tried to give the bear space and stepped away from the hike trail. The bear then reportedly charged towards the woman and bit her before running away.

Authorities said they will be forced to put the bear down when it is captured.

"This is an aggressive bear and by policy, we will put it down if found," said CPW Officer Matt Yamashita. "But until we find it, the public should remember what to do if they see any bear. If it appears aggressive or shows no fear of humans, do not approach it. Haze it away by yelling or banging pots and pans, then call CPW or 911 immediately."

There are fears that the bear, described as light brown and weighing around 200 to 300 pounds, may enter Aspen's city limits before it is found.

The CPW officers have called in experts from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife Services to help capture the bear.

While bears usually try to avoid humans, they can become dangerous if they have been fed or have lost their natural fear of people. The CPW has offered advice on what to do if you see a bear in the wild:

  • Do not run from a bear, stand your ground and talk firmly to the animal.
  • If it continues to approach, throw rocks and sticks, wave your arms and yell loudly.
  • If the bear attacks, fight back as aggressively as possible and do not stop until the bear runs off.

"Fortunately, these incidents remain very rare," Yamashita added. "But when people and bears interact, it can increase the possibility of a dangerous conflict. This woman was lucky that she was not seriously injured."

The section of the hiking trail where the attack took place up to Lani White Trail has been closed until further notice while officers search for the bear.