Woman bitten by bear near Aspen speaks about attack

ASPEN, Colo. – The woman who was bitten by a bear near Aspen on Memorial Day wants others to learn from her encounter.

Janet Jansson was visiting from out of state, hiking on the popular Hunter Creek Trail when she and her husband came face to face with a black bear.

“All of a sudden, down the path came a very large bear. He was a beautiful bear, very fluffy, chocolate-brown color, quite large. First of all, it didn’t seem real. Like, 'seriously, is this happening?' We both moved off the trail, we both had some training -- do not run, try to get away  -- so we tried to get as far away as possible from the bear, but we had a stream behind us. That limited how far we could back up," Jansson said.

Jansson said the bear did not seem afraid of them.

“We thought he was going to walk past us, but he turned, as an after thought, pushed me over with his head and bit my thigh," she said.

She believes she went into shock because she does not remember getting knocked over.

“After the bear bit me, I yelled at the top of my lungs, 'No, go away.; He shook his head and then rambled off," Jansson said.

At first, she thought she was just bruised, but quickly realized she was bleeding.

“It was bleeding quite a bit. I had a fleece, my husband soaked in the stream and it was cold. I laid down, elevated my leg. Nothing was broken. It was a bad puncture wound and bruise, but nothing was broken. So I walked back down the trail and we called a taxi and went to the emergency room," Jansson said.

As doctors were treating her, they had questions, as did experts from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

“I was, in my opinion, pretty calm through all these questionings, until I found out they would have to euthanize the bear, at which point I broke down and cried," Jansson said.

But she understands why CPW had to put the bear down.

“It breaks my heart, but I do (understand) because in this case, the bear was not afraid. I found out this is a path used by kids, it’s close to the city, thank goodness an old gnarly lady, not a child... could’ve been disastrous," Jansson said.

CPW found the bear within 100 feet of where it attacked Jansson.

“We have to be more respectful, give them their space and not put things out in our yards that are going to attract them and get them used to humans and these kinds of attacks become more common," Jansson said.

CPW says no game warden wants to kill an animal, but they have to protect the public. They urge residents to take down birdfeeders and secure trash and cars. For information about living with bears, visit CPW's website.

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