What a Bear Can Do to Your Home

bearbreakinThis photo is an example of the type of chaos all of us involved with The Bear Whisperer hope to avoid. It was taken last summer in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, where Steve does not have jurisdiction like he does in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. While Steve often patrols the Lakes Basin, he is unable to take action when he sees a bear wreaking havoc. He is not allowed to discharge a firearm outside of the boundaries of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, which is why scenes like this can often occur.

Currently, authorities are trying to work out other methods of hazing that Steve could use outside of the Town's limits that don't involve firearms and would therefore allow Steve to work in these areas. (When Steve fires his rubber bullets, he is using a firearm).

The land in the Lakes Basin is operated by the Forest Service, which is governed by rules other than those used inside the Town limits. Only a sworn officer is allowed to use a firearm, of which Steve is not.

Last summer, the Lakes Basin experienced an unusually high volume of break-ins that were attributed to one bear. The bear ended up being Blondie, the female that made headlines in the summer of 2009 for breaking into homes within the confines of the Town, but had disappeared when a depredation permit was issued for her. Steve spent a lot of time trying to change her ways while she was in Town, but even he was frustrated with her at the time of her disappearance. She reappeared in the summer of 2010 and was unable to avoid the heavy hand of fate when a second depredation permit, this time pulled by a homeowner in the Lakes Basin, was issued for her. She had started her break-in habits again and raided dozens of homes throughout the course of the summer. She was ultimately put down by an officer of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department.

A depredation permit is issued by the Department of Fish and Game as the last step in a series of steps when trying to correct a bear's behavior.

According to DFG's website, "In the third category, a bear causes real property damage to a dwelling(s), structure(s), vehicle(s), apiaries, etc., or is a repeat offender (the bear has been previously captured or hazed by DFG employees). If the damage is minor and there are no other previous reports of damage the first action is implementation of reasonable corrective measures to remove attractants as outlined for the second category. Corrective measures must be made prior to, or in addition to, issuing a depredation permit. When a bear has caused extensive or chronic damage to private property (such as livestock killed or injured, or entered into a home or cabin), repeated damage where corrective or bear-proofing efforts have failed, etc., DFG issues a depredation permit."

*Editor's Note: The damage in this photo was not caused by Blondie, but is meant to be used as an example for the type of damage she, and other bears with her same habits, can cause.                                                          


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