Black bear breaks into car

Welcome to springtime Estes Park, Colorado: elk traffic jams, blooming flowers and snow (at least at lower elevations) starting to melt.

Estes Park resident Kevin Buckert said he loves living in the area, but early Saturday morning, he encountered a problem.

“I got a call from my sister — she was frantic,” he said. “(She) said, ‘We have a problem’ and hung up real quick.”

Turns out she had an unexpected visitor — a bear stuck in a car.

“(The) problem here is the bear got in the car and the door shut behind him and then he wanted to get out and started hitting the horn,” Buckert said.

The black bear was trapped in the car for about seven hours.

“That’s terrible,” he said. “Could you imagine being locked in a car for that long if you were a bear?”

Fortunately, a neighbor was able to help get the bear out. And the aftermath shows havoc.

“The car is totaled out,” Buckert said. “(The) insurance company towed it off. It’s demolished.”

But Buckert is not the only one dealing with a bear break-in.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Manager Chase Ryland said they had bear break-ins twice the previous night and two others the night before. So CPW is asking residents to be careful with what they leave in their cars this time of year and ensure it’s nothing that would attract a hungry bear.

“They’re coming out of hibernation now and looking for food,” Ryland said. “Some of these bears have learned this behavior in the past.”

CPW recommends taking anything with a scent out of your car, such as food, soft drinks, makeup and other items. CPW also asks that you ensure your car is locked.

“Cars can be replaced,” Buckert said. “Bears can’t.”

Ryland said a big part of CPW’s mission is to ensure bears stay in the population for generations to come.

Buckert he agrees — there are very few places left where you can see wildlife in its natural environment, he said.

“It’s a special place and we’d like to keep it special,” he said.

Because nobody wants to see a bear behind the wheel of their car.