DATELINE: STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Ken Mauldin was jolted awake last weekend with his wife screaming incessantly in their split level home in Colorado’s mountain town of Steamboat Springs where their three children were sleeping one floor below. Then she yelled: “There’s a bear in the house!”
Kelly Mauldin had just been awakened by the couple’s barking dogs that didn’t wake up her husband before dawn on Saturday. She walked to the door of the couple’s bedroom and found herself staring at a male black bear weighing about 400 pounds (181 kilograms) — about 10 feet (3 meters) away in the dining room.
In an interview, Ken Mauldin said he grabbed his 40-caliber pistol, took his wife’s place at the door and shot once, aiming for the center of the bear’s body. He thinks the first shot hit the bear and it charged him as Mauldin continued firing. As he was shooting, the bear got as close as 5 feet (1.5 meters) from Mauldin and then turned toward the stairs leading to the home’s front door. The bear crashed through a bannister as Mauldin emptied the gun with 9 shots and the bear slid down the stairs, mortally wounded. It wound up in a pile at the bottom of the stairs.
It’s believed that the 400-pound bear flipped the unlocked door lever and walked right in.
◾️Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) official spokesperson Rachael Gonzales said: “Colorado has roughly 12,000 bears and break-ins aren’t uncommon in mountain towns. People shooting and killing bears in self-defense, however, is rare.”
◾️“Steamboat, that area, they’ve been dealing with bears getting into homes all summer long,” she said. “It’s not impossible that this bear learned the behavior from another bear.”
◾️CPW warned residents of Steamboat Springs to lock doors and windows, secure their trash and recycling in bear-proof bins, and take down bird-feeders to prevent these kind of confrontations.