Jul 1, 2011 8:13 PM by Matt Stafford

More bears out this holiday weekend?

Richard and Sally Pfeiffer found a big surprise in their pool last week; it was a two- to three-year old black bear.

"He was in the lower end here, sitting for quite a while," says Richard Pfeiffer.

Sally snapped a picture. They say the bear has shown off some pretty good swimming skills while getting used to their pool. They say the bear is figuring out that their backyard is a place to come cool off.

"He got out on the side and shook himself off a little bit, and then he went on down our rock stairs here," says Richard, showing which way the bear took off.

A neighbor caught the bear on video and sent it in to News First 5. Parks and Wildlife officers tried to catch the bear, but it slipped away into Palmer Park.

"It (Palmer Park & Pulpit Rock area) seems to always have at least one bear family in that vicinity," says Michael Seraphin, a spokesman for the Division of Parks and Wildlife. "It's kind of the eastern edge of where we find bears in the Pikes Peak region."

Seraphin says bears in this area generally try to stay away from people, but dry conditions this year could have us seeing more of them.

"They're looking for alternate food sources, which often times brings them into areas where they're going to come in close contact with people," explains Seraphin.

So if you turn a corner and find a bear, what should you do?

"If you have pets pick them up, small children pick them up," says Seraphin. "Speak in a soft, calm voice; let the bear discover your presence and back away."

Those steps are easier said than done, but Seraphin says the important thing is to not surprise the bear.

The Pfeiffers are hoping not to have anymore surprises of their own, but the bear was a memorable sight. They don't know if it'll be back.

"He had found himself a home and now he had to go back; he's learned his lesson," says Sally. They'll just have to keep an eye out.

For tips from the Division of Parks and Wildlife on dealing with bears, click here.


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