North Shore black bears following their noses into people's homes

Black bears invading homes

The North Shore Black Bear Society is urging residents not to have an open-door policy after a string of incidents involving bears following their noses into people’s homes.

Society acting executive director Christine Miller said they are aware of at least three recent incidents over the course of a week.

In one case, a bear entered a kitchen and snagged some “organic material.” Possibly the same bear also made its way into at least one garage as well, Miller said. And in one instance, the home’s residents saw the bear just as it was coming in the door and shooed it away.

That’s the best possible outcome, Miller said. Most often when a bear enters a home, it’s an adolescent male “who hasn’t learned the proper way to behave in a residential area,” Miller said.

“When a bear enters an enclosed space like a house or garage, especially if he obtains any food reward, it usually means that he will be killed because the authorities believe that he will then know there’s food inside those places,” she said.

Despite the warm weather, Miller said residents living in bear territory shouldn’t leave ground-floor doors and windows open unless they are there to monitor them closely. It also underscores the need to keep yards free of attractants like bird feeders and tree fruit, which draw the bruins in.

“It can happen anywhere with any bears,” she said. “We’ve got bears moving around all over the place.”

Miller said unlocked/open dumpsters have also been an issue this year.

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