'Bearhunt' ends with capture, relocation of furry suspect

"Pueblo County sheriff's deputies were busy this morning tracking down an unusual suspect in Pueblo West -- a black bear," the sheriff's office said in a statement Thursday morning. (Photo: Pueblo County Sheriff's Office)
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PUEBLO WEST, Colo. (KKTV) - Pueblo County deputies got their guy after an hourlong pursuit Thursday morning.

Their target wasn't the typical suspect, however.

"At about 7:20 a.m., sheriff's deputies received a report of a bear in the yard of a home in the 1000 block of West El Esperante Drive," the sheriff's office said.

The home was just a mile from Pueblo West High School, so deputies began tailing it to ensure the bear didn't get too close.

"Deputies kept a visual on the bear as it moved about in a field near the area of Spaulding Avenue and Conquistador Avenue. At one point, the bear moved in close to a residence but was spooked and ran away."

For the next hour, the bear roamed the residential area, getting near at least three schools and dozens of homes, the sheriff's office said. A band of deputies, firefighters and wildlife officers were close behind.

One of the wildlife officers was eventually able to get close enough to tranquilize the bear, ending the "bearhunt."

"I commend the deputies for the great job they did in ensuring the safety of the residents and in particular, the schools as students and staff were arriving for the day,” said Pueblo County Sheriff’ Kirk M. Taylor. “Deputies were vigilant in keeping a close eye on the bear and herding it away from schools and homes until it could be safely captured."

Unlike most who find themselves in sheriff's office custody, this furry "suspect" will be allowed to roam free. Its next stop is relocation somewhere in the Colorado wilderness.