updated 9/1/2006 8:34:16 AM ET 2006-09-01T12:34:16

A 72-year-old woman making pot roast in her kitchen discovered uninvited guests in her home Thursday: a bear and her cub.

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The unidentified woman walked into the kitchen and found the bear standing six feet away, apparently surprising it, Vail police Sgt. Dan Torgerson said. The bear hissed at her and swatted her chest and arm, giving her some minor scratches. The woman then scared it off by yelling and clapping her hands.

Torgerson said the bear hissed again and then left through a side door.

"If the bear was trying to hurt her, it very easily could have," he said. "I think it was just surprised."

The woman then found a cub in her house and she pushed it out the door, Torgerson said.

That bear and cub are believed to be the same ones that entered another home and ate food off the kitchen counter. The owners refused to let wildlife officials set traps for bears in their homes.

No trash had been left outside at either home but a trash can was found outside on another street and it had apparently been rummaged through by a bear. That resident was cited.

Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said the bear has learned how to get food from humans and has taught its cub. If captured, he said the bear would be euthanized and its cub euthanized or relocated.

Encounters between humans and bears are more common as bears feed to prepare for hibernation during the winter. Right now bears spend about 20 hours a day eating about 20,000 calories — the equivalent of nearly 20 Big Mac meals.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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