Bear opens window of Montana home to search for food during drought, officials say

When Montana homeowners returned to their house last week, they found a bear looking for food inside.

The young black bear had pried open a window June 23, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said Monday.

“Despite the homeowners’ efforts to bear-proof their property, the bear was able to pry open a window and enter the house,” wildlife officials said in a news release. “The people were not home when the bear entered.”

The homeowners called wildlife officials, who then trapped and euthanized the bear.

When bears enter a home, Montana wildlife officials will euthanize them because the behavior could be dangerous to humans and the bears.

In Red Lodge, Montana, residents have reported seeing more bears in town and neighborhoods.

Wildlife officials think a drought is impacting berry crops in the area and forcing bears to look for easier sources of food.

“The lack of spring moisture could affect berry crops, leading both black and grizzly bears to seek out easy food sources near homes,” wildlife officials said. “If those bears find nothing to eat around homes and businesses, they will move elsewhere.”

Bear break-ins are not common, but they do happen.. In California, a bear walked into a Duarte home when the homeowner opened a door to let his cats inside.

In March, a mother bear and her three cubs peeled the siding off a Kings Beach home and trashed part of the basement. They also broke a gas line.

California wildlife officials have warned that if a bear breaks into your home, you shouldn’t confront it.

“Most bears will quickly look for an escape route,” the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said on its website. “Move away to a safe place. Do not block exit points. If the bear does not leave, get to a safe place and call 911.”

Wildlife officials say you should follow these tips to deter bears:

  • Don’t leave food scraps in your yard

  • Have a bear-proof garbage can

  • Don’t put out the trash can until the morning it’s to be collected

  • Do not leave food in your vehicle

  • Do not spray bear spray near your property (It can actually attract bears once dried)

  • Do not feed wildlife near your home

  • Remove bird feeders from your yard

  • Store barbecue grills, pet food and livestock feed in a locked building

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