A bear was shot nine times after breaking into a Colorado home and charging at the owner.
Ken Mauldin was sleeping at his home in Steamboat Springs when he was jolted awake by screams at two o’clock in the morning, KUSA reported.
As Mauldin jumped out of bed, his wife was screaming: “There’s a bear in the house.”
“So, I grabbed a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun,” he told KUSA.
There are an estimated 17,000 to 20,000 black bears in Colorado. The population has been expanding in recent years, making conflict with humans more common.
Bears usually keep to themselves, but some become accustomed to human food, making them bolder in approaching houses and humans.
Mauldin told KUSA that as soon as he spotted the bear he shot his gun at it nine times.
“I shot it as soon as I could shoot it,” he told the news outlet. “I shot it and then it charged me, and I kept shooting at it. It backed up and changed directions, busting through our banister railing and landing on the stairs, and then it slid down and wound up in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.”
He suspects the bear got in after the door to his house was left unlocked.
“I just recognized that it was a bear, and my immediate thought was to protect my family and to shoot it,” Mauldin told KUSA.
An official from Colorado Parks and Wildlife told KUSA that instances similar to this have been increasing in the neighborhood.
“We do see bears getting into homes a lot,” the official told the news outlet. “It seems in the Steamboat area we have seen an increase in that this year with bears getting in through unlocked doors and windows.”
The department advises residents to call them if they encounter a bear in their home.
Human food is a large cause of human and bear conflicts across the U.S. If a bear has become accustomed to human food it may be deemed a nuisance. These food conditioned bears have learnt that approaching houses and humans can lead to rewards, often in the form of waste food in garbage or pet feed.
Bears are usually a shy and reclusive species, meaning they will usually back away from a human if the person makes themselves appear bigger, or make a loud noise.
Newsweek has contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife for comment.