August 17, 2007
The bears of Lake Tahoe and Truckee are getting national media attention due to their notorious entries into homes and cabins. The BEAR League and the Department of Fish and Game both strongly encourage residents to be extra vigilant in keeping all accessible doors and windows closed and locked when not at home or when sleeping. It is also well worth the effort to remove all food from houses that aren’t permanently occupied … this includes teas, spices and canned goods.
This problem is expected to escalate as fall approaches and the bears begin foraging 20 hours a day in preparation for winter denning. The cause of the unusually high numbers of home invasions is threefold: the drought (no water in the mountain streams and no good berry or pinecone crop), the Angora Fire (bears displaced and moving in search of new territory), and higher numbers of people who are not home or aren’t willing to defend their homes against a bear who attempts to approach.
Bears are non-confrontational and will easily run off if residents will be aggressive in letting them know they aren’t welcome. Too many people are unrealistically fearful and will run and hide in the bedroom instead of loudly shouting orders at the bear to “Get out!”
There are no neighborhoods at this time that aren’t vulnerable so every resident and visitor is advised to take down bird feeders and not place garbage out in anything but a bear-proof bin before the morning of pick-up. If just one person does not follow these guidelines the whole area will suffer the consequences.
Two separate adult bears continue to enter homes in when no one is inside. The barking dog alarms are working well to keep them out. The bears are grown siblings, one being a large male, and the other is a mother with two cubs.
A young dark male has entered several homes in the area through windows left open and when people are away or asleep. He smells the food inside and meets with no resistance when he jumps through the screen or open doorway.
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has reported several entries into unoccupied homes and the guilty parties appear to be two separate juvenile bears who each feel very comfortable in close proximity to people. Earlier in the season the BEAR League received a multitude of calls regarding improperly stored trash in this area.
A resident of called to announce that he intends to shoot a bear because he thinks the bear might attack his 1,500-pound horse. The man stated that he leaves his garage unlatched on purpose and the bear has been coming to raid the freezer he stores inside. (The bear has not bothered the horse.) The homeowner, who is a resident in ‘bear country’ doesn’t feel he should have to secure his garage and he faults all the neighbors, as they leave their trash out all week long. There has not been a reported case of a bear attacking a horse anywhere in this area.
A man in was awakened early one the morning to the sounds of what he thought was his neighbor picking through the refrigerator. When he looked into the kitchen he saw a mother bear sitting in front of the open fridge door. Her two young cubs were asleep on the couch. They’d had a busy night in the house as the pantry was ransacked and one of the bears had obviously been attempting to use the gentleman’s computer. Some keys were missing and the screen was scratched. It is not known whether the cubs were updating their MySpace page or if mother bear was signing up for E-Harmony.