DURANGO, Colo. (KRQE) – A Colorado woman turned into a mama bear when a real bear got really close to her two young sons. It’s the latest in a series of bear encounters in the Durango area.
“When you hear a scream like that, your mom instincts, you just immediately know there is something very wrong,” Cristy Holley said.
Holley and her daughter Brittani were at home near Vallecito Lake on Tuesday when her 4-year-old son Cooper and 6-year-old son Cody’s play voices changed.
“It immediately turned into a blood curdling screaming,” Holley said. “I came around the corner and they were face-to-face within three feet of a black bear…I started running towards the bear, screaming, waving my arms as big as I could, to make myself look big as I could.”
Vallecito is definitely Bear Country. Holley says she’s had bear encounters before, but this bear was different.
“He wasn’t backing away. He looked at me like I messed up his next meal,” she said.
“If I would have gotten there five seconds later he would have had one of them,” Holley said.
“All I saw was the bear and terrified looks on my brother’s faces,” Holley’s daughter, Brittani, said.
They say the bear lunged, the women grabbed the boys from the yard, and ran inside.
Fish and Wildlife tracked and euthanized the bear.
“The wildlife officer told me that same bear two days before had confronted a lady down the road below these houses jogging, and she had to use pepper spray to scare it off because it kept advancing on her,” Holley said.
Holley says this encounter has changed her family’s perspective.
“I’ve never been afraid of a bear before, but this bear was acting completely different and I am now afraid of bears,” she said. “It was terrifying, it was very terrifying.”
This is at least the sixth bear killed in that area in the last week. Wildlife officials say the bear population in New Mexico and Colorado has surged so high this year, competition for food in the mountains is bringing bears closer to civilization.