September 8, 2011 |

Police put down problem bear

A brown bear that pushed its way into sheds and a garage was "shot several times" and killed Saturday night near the Deishu Drive senior housing building, after three officers trailed the animal for more than two hours, said police chief Gary Lowe.

"It’s sad that you have to do that, but this bear was dangerous," he said.

The bear left paw prints on doors and broke into homes earlier in the evening, Lowe said, with much of the activity along Deishu Drive and FAA, Gruening, Major and Mud Bay roads.

The police department had received calls about the bear for several weeks, and had authorization of state wildlife biologists to kill the bruin. He said Saturday night provided "a clear kill zone."

"The officers were in that area for two and a half hours, tracking it and getting themselves lined up for the right shot," Lowe said. "People have seen that bear; you get a glimpse of it here and there. The officers have seen that bear before, but hadn’t had a shot for it."

Third Avenue resident Jerry Blood said the sound of the bear breaking into his garage Saturday was like "a gunshot." His wife, Barb Blood, said the bear was a repeat visitor to their home just off Mud Bay Road.

"The garage is in our basement, so it’s part of the house," she said. "At 11 o’clock, we heard this horrendous crash and knew right away, because he had been here a month ago and put his paw prints on the door and bent the door, but this time he broke the door open."

Barb said the bear was only a few feet from a trash can, but the noise "must have scared him, because he ran away right away. He never came into the house."

When the Bloods called police, officers already were in the area, looking for the bear. Chief Lowe said the bear likely found easy food around town in the past and became habituated.

The Haines Borough Assembly last year approved a bear attraction nuisance ordinance with stricter regulations for storing food and garbage. Lowe said the ordinance helped thwart many of the bear’s attempts to find food, so the animal got more aggressive in its search.

"There probably is going to be another bear that’s going to take his place," Lowe said. "Hopefully it’s not going to be as bold as this one was."