Black bear

A black bear at a campsite. File photo.

A camper killed a 260-pound black bear in the backcountry near Nederland, Colorado after feeling as if his life was threatened.

According to Jason Clay, a Colorado Parks and Wildlife public information officer, a report was received at 6:45 AM that a man had shot and killed a bear while dispersed camping in Gordon Gulch. Boulder County Sheriff's Office was first on the scene.

Dispersed camping is camping anywhere outside of a designated campground.

The chain of events that led to the bear's death started when the man came out of his camper to his dog barking. The man then called the dog to return to him, which resulted in the bear charging toward the two. The man then shot and killed the bear from a distance of approximately 10 to 15 yards.

While it is illegal to shoot a bear in an attempt to protect pets, authorities have justified this killing as the man was also threatened.

Despite a clean campsite, the bear is suspected to have broken into the man's truck days prior, finding food. This is likely why the bear returned. Other incidents involving what was likely the same bear had been recently reported in the surrounding area.

Bear attacks are rare, as bears tend to avoid human interaction. Typically, a barking dog would also act as a deterrent, but this bear was oddly bold.

If you're camping in Colorado, be "bear aware." Lock your scented items in a bear-proof canister and keep a clean campsite. If a bear approaches you, do not run – this can trigger a chase response. Instead, slowly distance yourself from the bear while monitoring its movements, but avoid direct eye contact. Present yourself as large as possible. Find more bear safety tips here.

Spencer McKee manages the OutThere Colorado digital publication as the Director of Content and Operations. He also writes about outdoor recreation, travel news, and more. In his spare time, he loves to rock climb, trail run, and mountain bike.

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