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Brown bear suspected of break-ins is killed

Posted: November 2, 2012 - 12:07am

ANCHORAGE — A brown bear suspected of breaking into homes in an Anchorage neighborhood has been killed, but it likely was not the bear that has been raiding chicken coops, state officials said.

The bear weighing more than 700 pounds was shot and killed Tuesday night in the Stuckagain Heights area.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game lured it into a yard using dog food as bait and shot it, the Anchorage Daily News (http://is.gd/fkTPC2 ) reported Thursday.

An examination showed it was not the same bear that was recently shot and wounded by a homeowner because it was raiding his chicken coop. That bear is still at large and suspected of raiding at least six chicken coops late last week.

October often brings a spike in bear activity in Anchorage as the animals look for a last big meal before hibernation.

Biologists had initially thought the same bear might have been responsible for the break-ins and the raids on chicken coops.

“We were hoping the chicken-eating bear was doing break-ins,” Fish and Game area wildlife biologist Jessy Coltrane said on Wednesday.

Robert Bundtzen said he and his wife Joan were asleep when the bear ripped through their garage doors early Monday. It wasn’t until police arrived some time later and knocked on his door that Bundtzen realized what happened.

“The power of this animal,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday. “The garage doors were nothing. He bent the panel and knocked them off their tracks.”

Bundtzen, a veteran Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher, said the bear slipped quietly past 24 dogs in his yard. Once in the garage, it took some rawhide dog chews but left stacks of dog food alone.

He suspects the bear was the same one that visited their home last Thanksgiving, sat down in front of a window and ate birdseed without moving, even when the lights were turned on. Bundtzen said the big bear came back every day for a week.

Joan Bundtzen told the Daily News that she thinks the bear is not right in its head.

“I think it’s a crazy bear,” she said.

Sometime Sunday night or early Monday the bear tried to push in the garage doors of the neighbor’s house. It left claw marks and broke a large glass panel.

Bundtzen said residents should be allowed to have chicken coops but should be required to put electric fences around them.

“That is logical,” he said.

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