The state parks and wildlife division on Friday released a sobering photograph of a bear carcass wrapped in a tarp, hoping that someone can provide clues about who killed and left the animal outside a Snowmass Village trash enclosure.
The bear, an adult sow, was shot twice, likely on the evening of May 5, said Kevin Wright, district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The animal was hit “at fairly close range” in the lower abdomen and hind quarters, and again in the face and shoulder, he said. Wright declined to say what caliber of gun was used because the investigation is ongoing.
No tips have been provided to authorities, he said.
Trash collectors in the Two Creeks neighborhood found the bear on May 6 and reported it.
Officials are asking the public for any information that might lead to the individual or individuals responsible.
“Killing a bear and abandoning the carcass is a serious offense,” Wright said in a press release shortly after the bear’s discovery. “However, the person who did this still has the opportunity to do the right thing turn and themselves in.”
But he said Friday that no one has come forward with any information, “which is unfortunate. Sometimes these things take time.”
Wright said a “fairly unusual type of rope” was used to tie up the tarp, a detail he hopes someone will notice.
“I wish whoever did this would come forward and explain to me why they did what they did,” he said. “I would like to know the circumstances of what happened.”
The longtime wildlife officer said this is a rare case. People have shot bears that were trying to get into homes, but to not clean a carcass and dump it is unusual, Wright said.
The bear’s carcass had spoiled by the time authorities responded, Wright said, though he has retained the hide and head.
A Snowmass Village animal control officer investigated some construction sites but also was unable to come up with any leads, said village police Sgt. Brian Olson.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Glenwood Springs office at 970 947-2920. To remain anonymous, call Operation Game Thief at 877-265-6648. Rewards are available if the information leads to a citation.
In other bear news, a work crew from the Rifle Correctional Center on Friday finished work at the Difficult Campground east of Aspen. Wright said the crew trimmed chokecherry and serviceberry shrubs to lessen bear-human encounters.
Last summer, a bear sat on a tent in the night to get at berries, surprising the campers inside.
Difficult Campground is a “fairly notorious site for bear encounters,” Wright said.