Bear break-in shocks visitor in Silverthorne
June 25, 2010
SILVERTHORNE – When Alice Taim went looking for a book Thursday morning, she returned to a shocking sight – a smallish-black bear was sniffing around the living room. Taim said it broke through the kitchen’s screen door while she was upstairs.
“I usually don’t open the glass door (because) I’m feeling cold most of the time,” she said. “I decided to open the glass door because it’s summer.”
Taim, a visitor from Singapore, has been staying in a friend’s house on Kestrel Lane in Silverthorne. She estimated the bear to be 4-feet-long, and probably fairly young.
“It left a nose mark on the TV screen,” she added.
After Taim saw the bear, she ran upstairs – heart pounding – and locked the door. But, because she didn’t know how many were in the house, she decided to check it out.
The bear was still in the living room, so she stomped on the staircase and scared it into the kitchen where it jumped onto the island tabletop. Taim then ran upstairs once more to grab a laundry basket, which she threw at the bear to scare it outside.
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“I think it was looking for food,” she said.
Taim also said the bear didn’t damage anything but the screen door, though it left paw marks in the kitchen.
How to prevent problem bear encounters
According to Division of Wildlife district wildlife manager Shannon Schwab, Taim’s situation isn’t typical. Even so, bear sightings have been up and down this season, with a recent pick-up in activity.
“It’s not usual to run into one in your house,” Schwab said.
To ensure that bears stay out of homes and cars, the Division of Wildlife suggests keeping all attractants and any food out of reach.
“Bears are often wandering around, looking for a free meal,” Schwab said. “They’ll be less likely to explore for a free meal if you keep anything food-like away from the outside of a house.”
Schwab also said windows should be shut at night – “Don’t give them an avenue to get after food. A screen door is not going to stop hardly any wildlife, let alone a bear. Keep smelly things away from doors and windows.”
And, as a preventative measure, people shouldn’t even leave dog food in their vehicles.
“It doesn’t take much effort for them to get inside a vehicle if they want to,” Schwab said. “If people have been having problems with bears, you need to be especially careful about not having doors open. It will cut down on opportunities.”
If anyone is having problems with bears around their homes or subdivisions, they should report it to the Division of Wildlife at (970) 725-6200. Schwab said residents and visitors should only call if it’s a continued issue, not just a sighting.