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NEW CASTLE, Colo. (KDVR) — A woman was seriously injured by a bear in her backyard early Wednesday morning, Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.

CPW said the woman saw her hot tub cover off after 2 a.m. and went to adjust it when a bear came out of a tree charging at her, swiped at her and severely injured her arm. She was able to get away and it was later determined the bear was a sow and her cubs were nearby.

When New Castle police arrived, they determined there were four bears – the sow and three cubs. CPW was informed of the incident and instructed the officers to shoot and kill the sow. New Castle officers successfully tracked down the sow, and shot and killed it.

Officers with CPW were able to find three cubs in the area. One was euthanized and two others stayed in a tree, which prompted CPW to make the decision to tranquilize and remove them rather than euthanize them.

The investigation into the incident uncovered that the sow was the only bear that attacked the woman so the surviving cubs were sent to be rehabilitated.

The bears had been spotted in the area but showed no aggression toward humans or threatening behavior which is why they were not relocated.

CPW officers will generally euthanize bears if they no longer have fear of humans or after an attack to prevent future bear attacks.

Wildlife officers remind those in bear country to be bear aware

It’s the time of year bears fatten up for hibernation and the lack of food sources will draw them into human spaces to find food. Here are some ways to avoid bears coming near your home:

  • Don’t feed bears, and don’t put out food for other wildlife that attracts bears. 
  • Be responsible about trash and bird feeders.
  • Burn food off barbeque grills and clean after each use.
  • Keep all bear-accessible windows and doors closed and locked, including home, garage and vehicle doors.
  • Don’t leave food, trash, coolers, air fresheners or anything that smells in your vehicle.
  • Pick fruit before it ripens, and clean up fallen fruit.
  • Talk to your neighbors about doing their part to be bear responsible.

You can find more information about living around bears and what to do in a bear encounter on CPW’s website.