Bears Break into Pelican Homes

Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska – Juneau

A family of bears is making a mess out of cabins near the Southeast Alaska town of Pelican. A sow and two cubs have broken into about a half-dozen homes in the past five or six days.

Harbormaster Dave Duffey is one of the affected homeowners in the Sunnyside neighborhood, about two miles north of town.

He says the homes are not strongly built, so they’re easy for the bears to get into. He’s beefed up his entryways to prevent a repeat visit.

“I’ve got two-by-fours and two-by-eights bracing up my doors. I’ve got plywood over windows and doors. It’s kind of limited access to my own buildings. Right now I’m going through a window to get in and out of my house,” he says.

Pelican’s village public safety officer could not be reached for immediate comment.

Duffey says residents have asked state authorities for help. A trooper, who happened to be passing through, looked at some of the damage. But so far, so action has been taken.

“They’re kind of talking about going after it themselves. But there are legalities too. We talked to somebody who has a (bear) tag and maybe he’ll show up,” he says.

He says the area is quiet, since many of the homes are unoccupied this time of year. He also says it’s nerve-wracking knowing the sow and cubs connect people with food.

“It’s dark when I come in in the morning and it’s getting darker when I get home at night. I don’t think she’s been aggressive toward people but she’s destroyed all these houses. It’s just a nightly thing so I make a lot of noise when I go through the woods,” he says.

Sitka’s state wildlife office could not be reached for immediate comment.

Pelican is about 80 miles north of Sitka and about 70 miles west of Juneau. The Chichagof Island town has about 120 residents.

Download Audio (MP3)