Some Boulder County residents got a surprise visit Tuesday night, from bears.
In an incident on Seven Hills Drive, Bruce Rice was watching a Colorado Rockies game on television and talking on the phone when a bear ambled inside and went straight into the kitchen for a bowl of fruit.
Rice didn't know the bear was in the house until a neighbor, Peter Schindler, ran over and alerted him.
"Essentially, the door to my neighbor Bruce's house was open about that much. The bear entered ... just pushing through," Schindler said.
"He'd flipped (the fruit bowl) over into the sink and he grabbed an apple out of it," Rice said of the bear.
The bear took the snack outside and reentered the house, undeterred by the sound of the TV and presence of the family dog, a white Labrador named Buzz.
"I would say Buzz was about 17 feet from the bear when he came in the first time and the second time, and he didn't even notice him," Rice said.
But the 15-year-old Buzz redeemed himself after being awakened by their neighbor, who had run over to the house to alert Rice.
"The dog, I think, heard me banging and came from upstairs and treed the bear right over there," said Schindler.
The two men and Buzz scared the bear out of the house and it climbed a nearby tree. It stayed in the tree for about 20 minutes, until wildlife officers arrived and shot bean bags at it. It eventually left the area.
"The crazy thing is if I'd gotten up and gone to the kitchen when the bear had only one way out, that could have been really exciting," Rice said.
Rice said bear sightings are not uncommon in Sunshine Canyon, but he and his wife didn't expect them inside his house.
"Given where we live, it's not a surprise but it is a surprise when they come into your house and just start helping themselves," said Rice's wife, Lisa. "This wasn't a cute little cub. This was a big bear."
"I think I'm going to shut my door from now on," Rice said.
A bear ransacked the Rice's kitchen a couple of weeks ago after entering the house through the doggie door. No one was home at that time.
Meanwhile, a resident on nearby Sunshine Canyon Drive reported that a mother bear and her two cubs were in their garage, attempting to get into the house Tuesday night. The bears were scared away by the homeowner.
A third incident happened on Flagstaff Drive, near Boulder. Homeowners found a bear eating dog food that was left outside. That bear was also hazed with bean bags by wildlife officers.
"We wanted to put the fear of men back into them," Chris Mettenbrink, Division of Wildlife district manager, told the Daily Camera.
The DOW said that bears can smell food from 3 to 5 miles away and they are urging people to lock up their cars and homes and remove food sources such as bird feeders and pet food, which can attract bears to the area.
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