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A man told Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigators a bear bit his arm about 10 p.m. Aug. 5 while he was in a hammock at a campsite in the Purgatoire River bottoms, east of Interstate 25. (Photo provided Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are searching for a black bear that bit a man relaxing in a hammock at a campground in Trinidad  — marking the third bear attack in Colorado this year.

The man told officers he heard a rustling noise as he swung in his hammock about 10 p.m. Saturday at a campsite in the Purgatoire River bottoms, east of Interstate 25. When he turned on his headlamp, he saw a bear next to him, CPW said in a news release. The bear bit him on the upper right arm, turned and wandered off.

The man went to a motel before calling an ambulance, which took him to a hospital to treat the bite, which was between 2 to 3 inches, CPW said.

Two CPW officers set a trap for the bear near the campground and requested a team of dogs to hunt for the bear in the area. Per CPW policy, any bear that attacks a human is classified as a dangerous bear and if captured, must be euthanized. 

The man told CPW he had no food or other items in his hammock that could have lured the bear. Bears that have previously found food in a tent could try to get inside, even if there isn’t any food there at the time.


But if no food was present, an attack could possibly indicate that a bear was sick, said Bill Vogrin, a CPW spokesman. 

To avoid attracting bears to a campsite, CPW recommends stashing trash and food in bear-proof containers, if available, or placing it in two trash bags and locking it in the trunk of a car or RV. It’s also not advised to bring anything with an odor into a tent, including all food, beverages, chapstick, scented toiletries or the clothes you cooked in.

CPW recorded three bear attacks in 2022 and two in 2021. 

Olivia Prentzel covers breaking news and a wide range of other important issues impacting Coloradans for The Colorado Sun, where she has been a staff writer since 2021. At The Sun, she has covered wildfires, criminal justice, the environment,...