This is the second year in a row you’ve printed an aside about a thing that happened to me (March 28 Beacon: “Bears Emerging from Dens in Northwest Montana”), and I want to set the record straight. What actually happened is, as is generally the case, way more ridiculous than what you’ve been publishing.
I am the person who lives up Haskill Basin who had a bear enter my house through the cat door. At the time, I had very recently begun fostering two cats – the day before the incident, in fact. The cat door is about 8 inches by 18 inches and was covered by a flap. And, perhaps this was naive, but it never crossed my mind that a bear could fit into an opening that size. Now I know better.
I arrived home from work to discover that the flap had been ripped off and both cats were lounging nonchalantly on my deck. I entered my home with great trepidation and discovered that cat food had been scattered across the floor. Tea bags had been chewed on and discarded. A pan full of bacon grease had a single large tongue print down its center. But the only thing that had been actually eaten was the Easter basket that my mother still gives me every year. My first thought was that raccoons had somehow gotten in (which for some reason to me was much more disgusting), but I followed a trail of empty wrappers around the side of my house (empty, that is, except the box of SweeTarts – I guess bears don’t like those) until I came upon a huge pile of bear scat. It was kind of a relief. Better than raccoons getting their grubby little mitts all over everything.
There was no birdseed involved. Just Easter candy.
The bear returned that night and tried to get back in, so I got a pretty good look at it. It was a very blond black bear, and indeed quite petite. Erik Wenum, who is a hero, came out the next day and left a trap, and then another, and I think by the end of it he caught two or three different adult male black bears, but never the actual culprit, who I’ve never seen again.
I keep my door closed now.