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Bear breaking into Payson home euthanized by AZGFD

Posted May 31, 2018

Photo at left: The bear knocked a desk on its side on the porch and pulled out the drawers. Photo at right: Photo quality is poor due to the glare, but the bear is on the back porch tipping a washing machine.

PAYSON, Ariz. — A bear that was aggressively attempting to enter a residence in Payson was captured and euthanized by wildlife officers from the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD).

Payson resident Joseph Stapp was asleep Tuesday evening when he heard a loud crash on the porch of the home he is building. He went to the door to see what was going on and got an unpleasant surprise.

“I looked out the front door, and the bear and I were face to face,” said Stapp. “He was pushing on the door, and I was pushing back. I was not scared, but I couldn’t shoo him.”

It was the third day in a row the bear had visited, causing property damage on the front and back porches. A neighbor was able to scare it off temporarily on Tuesday night by throwing rocks, but the bear returned later that night and again on Wednesday. The homeowner reported to AZGFD that the bear had gotten into a garbage can containing dog food several times earlier in the week, so he secured the can inside his home.

When the bear returned, it attempted to enter his home, and Stapp called 911. Wildlife officers from AZGFD live-trapped the adult male bear at the residence, evaluated it, and according to policy euthanized it because of the bear’s aggressive behavior and lack of fear toward humans.

“This season’s extremely dry conditions are making it difficult for bears to find natural food and water sources, increasing the chances of bears coming into neighborhoods,” Wildlife Manager Jarrod McFarlin said. “Bears can become habituated to human-related food sources and quickly lose their fear of humans. People living in bear country should do their part to keep wildlife safe by removing attractants such as bird seed, pet food, hummingbird feeders, and trash from their yards, and by keeping all trash inside a secured area until collection day.”

Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife managers have seen an increase of bear activity statewide due to drought conditions. This week in Arizona, two habituated bears became public safety threats and needed to be humanely euthanized. Under the department’s human-wildlife conflict policy, wildlife officers consider the bear’s behavior, age, sex and whether it’s a threat to human safety when determining when to relocate or lethally remove a bear.

AZGFD is currently monitoring other bears in Show Low, Yarnell, Pinetop, Mesa and along the southern US border. The common thread in each of the incidents is bears looking for an easy meal and water in populated areas.

When encountering wildlife, keep a safe distance and discourage interaction with them. AZGFD urges Arizona residents to refrain from feeding wild animals to keep wildlife wild. Report aggressive or unusual animal behavior to the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (623) 236-7201 at any time, day or night.