By Renee Rinehart –(Published: August 3, 2017) Early Tuesday morning an unsuspecting motorist hit and killed a black bear on Hwy. 12 at the north end of La Veta.
Emergency crews responded to the scene at about 7:45 a.m. to find the bear had attempted to cross the road near the Cucharas River. The small SUV suffered damage to the front end. The driver was treated by local EMS but not transported to the hospital, according to officials.
The black bear was between four and five years old and weighed approximately 300 pounds, according to Wildlife Officer Mike Brown. Residents in the area of First and Second Streets reported a bear in the area the last several nights.
Brown said a second bear was euthanized Tuesday morning after it broke into a livestock pen on Jameson’s ranch near Cuchara. Brown said the male bear was between seven and nine years old and weighed 350 pounds. “Once a bear goes after livestock, we have to put it down,” Brown said.
Brown reminds residents and visitors to avoid bear conflicts by keeping trash inside until the morning of scheduled pickup. This time of year bears are eating 20,000 calories per day to ready for hibernation. “They are looking for easy food sources,” said Brown. Early freezes killed the fruit and berries they are used to ingesting, so they go for secondary sources of food such as bird feeders, trash and grills. “Make sure to remove pet food from porches and decks,” Brown said.
The best deterrent for livestock is to electrify the pen and fences to keep bears out.