Bear destroyed after punching out car window in Jamestown

Bears are multi-faceted creatures. They're adorable, but they can also kill you -- which is why the Division of Wildlife moved aggressively in the case of an animal that punched in the window of a car last night.

A trap was placed for the bear, which was caught earlier this morning in the same Jamestown area where the auto assault took place -- and in all likelihood, it's already been destroyed.

Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill tells the story of what took place near 1 Cemetery Road -- a name that foreshadows the bear's fate.

"It appears that this bear was up there looking for food," she says. "The home had bird seed out last year -- a lot of bird seed, because they were feeding ravens. One of our officers advised them about that, told them to take down anything that would attract bears. But bears have wonderful memories. They're basically walking stomachs, and once they get a taste of bird seed, they keep looking for it around homes, because it's a great meal that gives them lots of calories."

Presumably, the bear in question recalled this buffet, because "he returned to the area," Churchill continues. "Our officers found some evidence of pulled screens, so the bear may have been trying to get into the home. And then it went to the car, and punched out a window looking for food."

DOW officers who responded to the scene didn't find the bear immediately, so "they set a trap around midnight or one o'clock in the morning," Churchill says. "And around eight o'clock this morning, we got a report of a bear in the trap. We estimate that it weighed about 275 pounds."

When asked if the bear had already been destroyed, Churchill says, "I think it's happened by now. The officers removed it from the property, and they do that kind of thing off-site. It's just one of those unfortunate situations, where once a bear identifies a food source, they're going to stick around and try to get more of that food -- and they can become a real public safety threat."

As an example, Churchill sites an incident that took place on July 13 in Bailey: "These folks really care about wildlife, and they didn't put bird feeders out. But the garage door was left open by accident, and the bear went into the garage and then pushed into the home, looking for food. It got some food in the kitchen and then was cornered in the basement, and it did injure a person trying to get out." That bear, too, had to be destroyed.

The Division of Wildlife would prefer to avoid this unpleasant chore. To that end, it's created a web page, accessible here filled with tips about how to properly bear-proof a home.

But it's too late for the Jamestown bear -- and Churchill says it "really paid the price for that."

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts