Colorado man shoots, kills bear that broke into his home

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — A homeowner in Colorado opened fire on an intruder in his home, killing a 400-pound bear.

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An unlocked door allowed the animal to gain access, with the bear flipping the lever doorknob to the Steamboat Springs home before coming in and rummaging through dog food, The Associated Press reported.

Kelly Mauldin told Steamboat Radio that when she went to investigate why the dogs were barking, she discovered the bear inside the house and screamed for her husband, Ken.

Ken grabbed his 40-caliber, semi-automatic handgun and opened fire, telling Steamboat Radio: “The bear charged me. I continued shooting at it as fast as I could. The bullet hole in the floor suggested the bear got about 5 to 6 feet from me when he backed up, changed directions, and crashed through the banister railing onto the stairs, where he collapsed at the bottom of the stairs.”

The bear collapsed and died just after 2 a.m., Rachael Gonzalez, a spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told the AP. Gonzalez said it was legal for the homeowners to shoot the bear because they felt threatened.

Colorado has an estimated 12,000 bears. While break-ins by bears are rare, they do happen, though wildlife officials told the AP that because this bear was not tagged, they do not know whether it might have gotten into other homes.

Wildlife officials recommend always locking doors and windows on the ground level, especially overnight, to keep animals out, KCNC reported.