A young female coyote that wildlife officials believe was being fed by people was shot and killed near a Copper Mountain ski run last weekend after it became increasingly aggressive toward skiers.
Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said that it was the first time he could recall DOW officers having to shoot a coyote at a ski resort.
Hampton said that the DOW was notified early last week by the Copper Mountain ski patrol that there was a coyote roaming the ski slopes and acting in an aggressive manner. He said the DOW, along with the patrol, were in the process of formulating a plan about what to do when the coyote’s behavior escalated on Saturday.
“On Saturday, she approached people baring her teeth. In two different incidents, she nipped at a boot and grabbed at a child’s jacket,” said Hampton. “It wasn’t like she was biting at the jacket, just tugging it.”
It was at that point, said Hampton, that two DOW officers were dispatched to the resort. The ski lift and runs in the area were shut down, the officers located the animal and shot it.
David Roth, spokesman for Copper Mountain, said that no injuries were reported by the skiers. He said guests at the resort first raised concerns about the animal. He also said the resort is not aware of any other coyotes in the vicinity.
According to Hampton there were no outward signs of disease on the coyote but tests are being conducted to confirm the visual findings. Coyotes are extremely adaptable and are found throughout Colorado, in urban centers such as Denver as well as rural and mountain communities. It I suspected that people in the Copper are were feeding the coyote. Though frequently found in small packs, it is not unusual for coyotes to live solitary lives.
The Copper Mountain situation came to a head because of concerns in the resort community. “There were more than a couple of incidents with the (Copper Mountain) coyote,” Hampton said. “These incidents were reported to the ski patrol. The ski patrol raised concerns because skiers raised concerns.”