Shots Fired As Bear Attacks Colorado Man in His Backyard: 'Be Vigilant'

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are urging visitors to "be vigilant" at all times after a man was attacked by a bear late on Saturday night.

The search is underway for the bear, who attacked the man at around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, outside his home in New Castle, a home rule municipality in Garfield County. The victim had gone outside to investigate a strange noise when he startled the bear who was in his backyard at the time.

A black bear with their mouth open.
A photo of a black bear bearing its teeth. A Colorado man was lucky to escape relatively unscathed after being attacked outside his home in New Castle. Kory Bumgardner/Getty

The incident is the second bear attack to take place in New Castle this year.

In 2021, a 39-year-old woman died in an apparent black bear attack. Her body was found near the town of Durango, some 350 miles southwest of Denver. Bear fur and scat were found at the scene while the body showed "signs of consumption."

Despite the killing happening in 2021, it was just the fourth fatal mauling in Colorado since records began in 1960.

According to the authorities, the latest bear charged at the man, knocking him to the ground before biting and scratching at the man's hand and arm, which he was using to protect his face.

Fortunately, the man was able to use his other free hand to grab a nearby gun and fire three shots, scaring the bear away.

The victim was subsequently taken to hospital by a family member where he was treated for minor injuries to his hand and arm, as well as some bruising on his chest, caused by the bear pressing him down into the ground.

The man told the authorities that it was his second sighting of a bear in as many nights.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was told that a patient was being treated for injuries following a bear attack at around 1 a.m. on Sunday, and wildlife officers were sent to the scene of the attack at around 2 a.m. to begin a search for the bear.

However, heavy rain made tracking the bear difficult for the officers, despite assistance from a drone boasting infrared sensors.

Despite firing three shots, the victim could not say for certain whether any of the bullets hit the bear. Officers remained on scene throughout the rest of the day but have so far failed to locate the bear.

The victim, meanwhile, was released from hospital on Sunday and is continuing his recovery at home. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are continuing the search but have asked those within the local community to contact the authorities if they come across an injured or a dead bear.

Area wildlife manager Kirk Oldham said in a news release: "This is an unfortunate reminder that we need to be vigilant and 'bear aware' at all times."

He added: "We continue to see a lot of bear activity during the overnight hours as bears prepare for hibernation. Easy access to food sources, such as trash and fruit from trees that have fallen to the ground, will attract bears.

"Simple steps like picking up fruit and removing any attractants around your home are important in preventing incidents like this."

Newsweek has contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife for comment.