ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Routt County man is lucky to be alive after he was attacked by a black bear in his garage on Sunday night. Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife say the man went to close his garage door around 11 p.m. and was greeted by a sow and two cubs inside.

(credit: CBS)

“In his garage he does store some bird seed and things like that that would certainly be attractants and so he wanted to get that closed in hopes of preventing bears from getting in,” said Rebecca Ferrell, CPW Branding and Communications Manager. “He did try and do the right thing and slowly back away, but the sow did attack, and he sustained some fairly severe injuries to his legs and head.”

While the man required surgery for his injuries, miraculously, CPW says he’s in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery.

(credit: Shannon Lukens)

In many cases, CPW says bears are less afraid of humans when there are cubs or food nearby. That was clearly the case when the sow returned to the garage.

“It was a fairly sustained attack according to the gentleman, the sow did return to the area fairly quickly as well, which indicated she had lost her natural wariness of humans and so that bear was euthanized this morning,” Ferrell continued. “We are still looking for the two cubs that were reported as part of this incident as well and our hope is that we will find those cubs relatively quickly, and we’ll do our best to get them captured and off to a rehab facility.”

CPW says bear attacks remain relatively low in Colorado considering the number of people and the healthy population of black bears. Even so, human/bear encounters are becoming more common and there are ways to help prevent them.

“This time of year, we have young wildlife all over the landscape and so most wildlife are going to be protective of their young and so it’s certainly a good reminder not only to practice all of the good bare aware advice that we provide people to keep attractants away from your home and keep your trash and dog food or bird seed locked up and closed up, but being aware that there are young wildlife on the landscape and its a very sensitive time,” she said.

CPW is constantly updating its website to offer tips and tricks to protect wildlife and yourself. For more information, visit cpw.state.co.us/bears.

UPDATE: Cubs Found Several Months After Routt County Bear Attack

Jamie Leary