Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) officials are asking for help locating a bear that attacked a man in his backyard over the weekend.
In a news release, the man went into his backyard after hearing noises on Saturday night and was immediately knocked down by the startled bear. The man used one arm to defend himself and the other to grab a gun, which he used to fire three shots that frightened away the bear.
After the attack, the man was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital, officials said. He told wildlife officers that he was unsure if any of the bullets fired from his gun hit the animal.
Garfield County Sheriff's Office deputies and CPW officers searched for the bear in the area around the victim's New Castle home. Search teams also used a drone with infrared sensors but could not locate the animal.
On Tuesday, CPW called off the search and asked residents to contact them if they spot an injured or dead bear.
"This is an unfortunate reminder that we need to be vigilant and 'bear aware' at all times," Area Wildlife Manager Kirk Oldham said in the release. "We continue to see a lot of bear activity during the overnight hours as bears prepare for hibernation."
"Easy access to food sources, such as trash and fruit from trees that have fallen to the ground, will attract bears," Oldham continued. "Simple steps like picking up fruit and removing any attractants around your home are important in preventing incidents like this."
According to CBS News, the attack over the weekend is the second to occur in New Castle over the last two months.
In August, a woman received lacerations to her arm and back when a bear charged at her. CPW officers euthanized one bear and removed two others as a result of the attack.
While attacks by bears are rare, the U.S. National Park Service has guidelines for what to do depending on the species.
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During an encounter with a brown bear, the best means of action is to lay flat on your stomach and place your hands behind your neck. However, the NPS said attempting to fight the bear would only intensify the attack.
If the encounter is with a black bear, the NPS advises running to a secure place — like a vehicle — or kicking the animal in the face if it attacks.