Black bears that entered Missoula-area houses euthanized
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials euthanized two black bears this month after they broke into separate houses in the Missoula area, wildlife specialist Jamie Jonkel said Wednesday.
A male black bear was killed over the weekend after entering several houses in a neighborhood northeast of Missoula, the Missoulian reported.
Efforts to relocate the bear failed, and it was starting to show signs of being dangerous, Jonkel said.
“He’s been around a while but he’s never really gotten this bad before,” Jonkel said. “In years past he’s been more of a tree-rooster, a serviceberry-eater and once in a while he’d take advantage of some bozo’s bird feeder or kicked a (garbage) can or two.”
The bear’s behavior escalated this month.
A woman who had left her front door open while running errands returned home to find that something had gotten into food on the kitchen table, Jonkel said. She saw the bear in another room.
“He wasn’t aggressive. He let her walk out and followed her out and carried on with the rest of his day,” Jonkel said.
Over the next five days, Jonkel received several phone calls about the bear, including reports that it was walking into garages and that it got close to a group of kids who were riding bikes.
“Sadly, we had to put him down,” Jonkel said.
Earlier this month, a young, female black bear that had gotten into a house near East Missoula and eaten cat food returned to the house and damaged the door in an attempt to get back inside. That bear was also euthanized.
Hawthorn berries have started ripening, so the bears are eating them and leaving human food alone, Jonkel said.
“I haven’t had a conflict call in two days,” he said Wednesday.