WASHOUGAL, Wash. – A large black bear has been tearing up a Clark County neighborhood in the past two weeks, attacking outbuildings, fenced-in areas and digging into garbage.
People in this neighborhood north of Washougal say they’ve never had a problem with bears until now.
Brandon McGovern caught the bear on camera after he had a run-in with it. He said it was frightening when he realized what it was.
He got a surprise last week when he opened a door to his shed, heard a roar and saw something take off. The walls that used to close in the back of his shed were torn up.
He borrowed a motion-sensing wildlife camera from a friend to figure out what was tearing into his shed. The camera revealed it was a large black bear.
The bear eventually came up onto McGovern’s front porch.
“When it put its nose up to the glass, I mean that was like, ‘Hey, how ya doin’ man!’ It freaked us out for sure,” McGovern said.
PHOTO GALLERY: No lions, no tigers, just bears!
The door on Brian MacKenzie’s garage happened to be open Wednesday night and the bear dragged out garbage, leaving a trail of debris, bear droppings in the grass and claw marks on the concrete where it pushed over a cyclone fence.
“I’m more scared for my family,” said MacKenzie. “What happens if I’m not here - and where he is going in the house and where they’re not showing fear of people – that’s where I get concerned.”
Sandra Jonker, regional wildlife manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for Southwest Washington, said the hungry bears are after exposed garbage and pet food.
“But usually when artificial attractants are removed or secured, there’s no longer an interest for the bear to come around and will move on,” she said.
Wildlife is one reason people like living here, but with the kind of damage the bear has caused, McGovern wonders, what’s next?
“It kind of makes me worried, but I definitely would rather have it relocated than eradicated for sure,” he said.
State wildlife experts said they are reluctant to relocate bears right away unless they lose their fear of people, because any bad feeding habits stay with the bears.
Experts said it’s better if everyone locks up any food sources until the bears lose those bad habits and leave to hibernate for the winter.