By BETH BRAGG
Anchorage Daily News
May 19, 2008
The bear wound up dead on the living room floor Saturday night, and David and Robin Tisch wound up spending a beautiful Sunday stuck indoors, wiping clean the mess the bear left.
"For anything to lose its life because it's hungry is a bad thing," Tisch said. "There are no winners in this case. The bear lost his life and my wife and I are out of a lot of money.
"It's part of the privilege and joy of living in Alaska."
The bear was shot dead soon after David and Robin returned from a quick visit to David's brother, who lives next door to the Tisches on a dirt road near Chugach State Park.
Robin was the first to notice something was wrong: A screen door was folded in.
"That's about the time we heard a drawer being thrown across the room. There was silverware flying," David said.
One of the Tisches yelled to the sister-in-law next door, telling her to call 911. The brother came running with a handgun, and David grabbed a rifle. The bear made an aggressive move, someone squeezed off a shot, and the bear fell dead.
Three police officers showed up later and helped put the bear on an area rug and carry it outside. They loaded it into the back of Tisch's truck, where it stayed until Fish and Game came to take it away.
Inside, the bear -- which found a frozen chicken and some bread before being surprised by the Tisches -- left a trail of destruction.
"He pulled the refrigerator away from the wall and was smart enough to pull open the freezer," David Tisch said. "He pulled open some drawers, and opened the cupboards and just destroyed those. We have a nice leather couch and love seat and he tore holes in the couch. He tore up the table.
"I can't imagine he was in here for more than a couple of minutes. He was definitely hungry."
In the aftermath of the encounter, another neighbor called to say another bear was on Tisch's brother's porch. With Chugach State Park right next door, the Tisches are accustomed to sharing the neighborhood with wildlife -- and they say they do everything people are supposed to do to minimize bear visits.
"I want to take this and use it as a kind of public-service message," David Tisch said. "Bring your bird feeders in. Don't leave garbage out. Take your garbage to the dump like I do. If you have dogs don't leave dog food outside."
And even then, remember that even in Anchorage, bears are never too far away, the Tisches said.
"Be aware of your surroundings," said Robin, who might have waltzed into the house completely unaware had she not noticed the damaged screen through which the bear gained entry.
David Tisch thinks bears might be more brazen than usual right now because salmon aren't running yet and a late-arriving spring has kept a cover of snow on other food sources. He doesn't blame the bear for being hungry. He feels bad the bear died. But the bear was someplace it shouldn't have been, and it acted aggressively.
"The bear needed to get out of the house," he said. "He's got all of Alaska to play in, and I'm just asking for this one small area."
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com
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