The 19-year-old woke up at around 4 a.m. to a “crunching sound” with his head inside the mouth of the bear, which was trying to pull him out of his sleeping bag as he slept outside at Glacier View Ranch 48 miles (77 kilometers) northwest of Denver, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said.
The staffer was treated briefly at a hospital and released.
The three incidents continue to highlight an active year for human-bear conflicts, as a poor natural-food cycle has pushed the animals to find alternative food sources, mainly from humans, such as trash or bird feeders.
“This is my fifth summer down here, and this is by far the largest call volume and number of incidents we’ve had,” said Matt Thorpe, wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Bryan Peterson of Bear Smart Durango said this year is the busiest bear season since the natural-food failure year of 2012. He said while rain may help, the late frost in June is likely to take a toll on late summer acorns, an important staple to a bear’s diet.
“It may get worse before it gets better,” he said.