JACKSON — Police warned area residents and guests Monday about increased bear activity in the area, where a New Hampshire Fish and Game officer fatally shot a young black bear after it returned to a home it had just been chased out of.
A woman called police Saturday afternoon, reporting a bear was inside a home she was renting on Wildflower Lane, Fish and Game Sgt. Alex Lopashanski said Monday.
A Jackson police officer who responded to the call got a child out of the residence safely and scared the bear back outside through the first-floor window it had entered through, Lopashanski said. When the bear stuck around the property, the officer shot at it with a rubber bullet that scared the bear back into the woods, but only temporarily, Lopashanski said.
“We got there probably 10 minutes after he had left and the bear was already back” on the property, Lopashanski said. “It’s not uncommon for a bear to get into a house. What was uncommon (was) for it to actually be back and be there when we got there.”
The bear, which Lopashanski estimated to be about 1½ years old and less than 100 pounds, appeared intent on getting back inside the home and showed no fear of humans, Lopashanski said.
“Regardless of why, once they enter a residence like that it’s really a public safety issue,” Lopashanski said. “We generally try to euthanize them if possible.”
Lopashanski said he went ahead and put the bear down as a precaution. Although the people inside the home were unharmed, the bear had already pushed aside a window screen to get inside and could have potentially broken into other homes, Lopashanski said.
“Black bears, for the most part, they don’t want anything to do with people,” he said. “Given the opportunity, they’ll stay out of your way.”
Lopashanski said the bear was apparently after something in the kitchen garbage. He said he checked the property for normal bear attractants like bird feeders and compost and found none, which made the bear’s persistence more troubling.
“For whatever reason, this one never really developed a healthy fear of people,” Lopashanski said. “Bears are pretty powerful. It’s not their goal to injure people, but one swipe of the paw if they feel threatened can do a lot of damage.”
Lopashanski said the family that was renting the property was a little shaken, but otherwise OK.
A police warning advised residents to be alert for bear activity and to take precautions.
“Please lock your car doors and bring trash to the dump as often as you can to avoid attracting the bears. Storing your trash away from your living space is also advised,” police said.