Resident Shoots Bear Outside Home

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A resident of Roosevelt Estates shot and killed a black bear outside his home last week when he found the bear eating out of a dog dish.

Arizona Game and Fish Field Supervisor Craig McMullen, who was forced to kill a young black bear near Tonto Creek last year, is investigating the shooting.

McMullen had to shoot the rouge yearling last year because residents had been feeding it and it had become accustomed to foraging in trash cans and back yards rather than in the forest.

When bears lose their natural fear of humans, McMullen said, they become a threat to residents.

After shooting the bear, McMullen said it was the most unpleasant duty of his profession.

Much like the bear at Tonto Creek, the slain bear near Roosevelt Lake had lost its natural fear of humans and was running freely in the area, Arizona Game and Fish Administrative Specialist Pat O'Brien said.

Game and Fish investigators, however, are still working to determine whether the Roosevelt Estates resident shot the bear legally, O'Brien said.

According to state law, residents can kill an animal to defend their life or the life of another person.

Game and Fish officials first learned that the bear was roaming a trailer park near Roosevelt Lake in early May. They said they met with residents to ask them to remove food and other items from their yards that might attract the bear to the area.

Officers set traps for the bear in mid-May, but were unable to snare the animal.

On May 29, McMullen received a report that the bear had gotten into a freezer. The next evening, the animal returned to the area and was shot.

Some of the residents of Roosevelt Estates were cooperative and removed all food sources from their yards, McMullen said. Other residents didn't take the matter seriously. As a result, he said, the bear continued to return to the neighborhood where food was easy to find."The incident clearly illustrates that total community support is needed to minimize conflicts with wildlife," O'Brien said.

Bear facts

Female bears cut yearlings loose in the spring, and those bears often have trouble establishing territories of their own. They often end up trying to make their living in campgrounds and trailer parks.

In dry years such as this one, bears often search for food and water near inhabited areas where it's easy to find.

According to Game and Fish officials, most bear/human conflicts happen because people are careless with trash, pet food and other foodstuffs.

Residents can help protect their neighborhoods from bears and other wild animals by not feeding them and keeping food supplies tightly secured.

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