Dine & dash: Bear enters Granby-area home through dog door | SkyHiNews.com

Dine & dash: Bear enters Granby-area home through dog door

Drew MunroSky-Hi Daily NewsGrand County, Colorado
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
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A Granby-area family endured an unwanted dinner guest for about 10 minutes Sunday night when a bear entered their mud room through a dog door.”Our dog made a strange noise – a combination between a growl and a bark,” said Brenda Freeman.When her husband went to see what was wrong and opened the mud room door, “There was a bear two feet away from him,” she said.The startled couple shut and locked the mud room door and went into their kitchen where they could look through the window into the mud room window. It was about 10:30 p.m.The bear explored the mud room for 10 minutes, Freeman said. He did little damage but left paw prints on the window, ate all the dog food that was out and pulled a few herbs growing in pots out of the soil, she said.”He was very graceful, very calm,” she said. “The bear didn’t seem to care about the dog barking.”She said the couple has lived in their home about five miles from Granby off U.S. Highway 34 for seven years and never had any bear issues. However, about four years ago a mountain lion came close to the house, she said.That incident eventually prompted the Freemans to add a dog to the family. Aniden is a Turkish Kangal, a breed used to protect sheep from wolves. The 2-year-old dog – whose name is Turkish for “pounce” – weighs about 120 pounds, Brenda said.She said her husband told her the bear looked like the same one authorities treed for a short time in Granby’s Kaibab Park on Thursday, June 11.”We thought it was quite a coincidence,” she said.Blame the rainThe two incidents in fact may be weather-related, at least indirectly.”It has to do with kind of the timing of Mother Nature,” said Randy Hampton, Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman.This time of year, bears generally eat grubs and forbs and by now are gorging on berries. The problem, he said, is that the same rain making the high country look like a Pebble Beach fairway is also prolonging the flowering phase of berry bushes.So, the berries are not yet available and the bears may be seeking alternative food sources, he said.Although Colorado’s bear population has remained stable at 8,000-12,000 animals, Hampton said they are smart and adaptable and may seem more prevalent because they are changing their habits.”Unfortunately, we do have areas where bears are getting more educated … about finding (human-provided) food sources,” he said.In this instance, even though the Freemans did the right thing, he said the Granby area now has a bear who found a food reward by going through a dog door, so there’s no guarantee the bear won’t return or try the same thing somewhere else.Brenda Freeman said the bear left their mud room through the dog door and “played in our fire pit.” She also said a neighbor told her the bear got into their trash.”We’re kind of in their territory; we’re in their space,” Freeman said.She said the family is now securing their trash in the garage and they have moved the dog food from the mud room into the house.”That should solve their problem,” Hampton said.As for those flowering berry plants and the rain, he sounded a note of caution. If it clears up and cools down sufficiently to cause a hard freeze that kills those blossoms, the berry crop could be destroyed.If that happens, he said, “It’ll be a long summer for all our wildlife officers.”- Drew can be reached at (970) 887-3334 ext. 19610 or at dmunro@skyhidailynews.com


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