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Game warden holds out hope for troublesome bear family

Loomis man did not request permit from Fish and Game
By: Jon Brines Gold Country News Service
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After calls poured into the Placer County Sheriff’s Office as a family of wayward bears wandered into Roseville over the weekend, Fish and Game officials now hope they’ll stay out of trouble. “I’m not sure of the outcome,” Placer Game Warden Brian Moore told the Fish and Game Commission Wednesday night. Moore said right now a trap has been set for the bears if they return to Granite Bay. If caught there, they would be put down. “It was requested by the homeowner,” Moore said. “A landowner that has property damage due to wildlife can request the depredation (kill) permit and we can’t refuse them.” The four bears were last spotted Wednesday near Horseshoe Bar Road and Auburn Folsom Road. Moore said the bears have been known to frequent the unsecured garbage of a restaurant near the I-80 and Foresthill exit in Auburn and for some unknown reason started the trek to Roseville. The unusual location for bears spurred about 40 calls into the Sheriff’s Office reporting the black bear sow and her triplet cubs as they made it down to Granite Bay through Loomis and back again. Rocklin resident Greg Janda’s wife Julie discovered the suburban spectacle Saturday morning - bears going house to house off Scarborough Drive in Roseville. “They followed the greenbelt into our neighborhoods,” Janda said. He told the commission he supported the bears and didn’t want them killed. “They are not interested in you, they are looking for food,” Janda said. “Don’t invite them by having food around for them.” Moore believes bear-proof trash cans are a great deterrent but doesn’t believe Roseville residents need to go out and get one. “No, this is isolated,” Moore said. “I think over the weekend the bears were scared pretty bad. People were seeing them and they were scattering. I hope they come back up here go back in that American River Canyon and start eating grubs, berries and grass and be bears.” Kari Freidig who represents Colfax on the Fish and Game commission, said the biggest problem right now is educating the public. “I don’t believe anyone from the Fish and Game Department has talked to the community, have attempted to work with the Bear League and are aware of this meeting or public outcry,” Freidig told Moore at the meeting. Freidig said a lot of people in the community don’t want to see the bears killed. The depredation (kill) permit has reportedly been issued to a Granite Bay resident who lost 20 chickens. It was initially reported that Loomis resident Peter Balfour lost 20 chickens. However, he only lost three. Balfour did not request a permit and said he never contacted the Department of Fish and Game. “I have no interest in killing bears at all,” Balfour said. Fish and Game refuses to identify the property owner who requested the permit for fear of possible retaliation against that resident. “Another solution maybe to tag the bears and give them another chance,” Freidig said Moore said relocating four bears is unlikely. Cindy McAyeal of the Bear League, an volunteer non-profit that seeks to keep bears safe and wild in their natural habitat, said the group has had success with scare tactics on trapped bears using rubber bullets, loud noises and dogs as an alternative to killing them. “They can be re-released. None of the ones we’re released have ever come back,” McAyeal said. McAyeal said people take the easy way out with the depredation order instead of learning about how to deter bears. “There are too many people all freaked out,” McAyeal said. “Don’t take a picture of them go out there with pots and pans and yell and get big. They don’t like dogs and Pine-Sol. Simple things you can do.” McAyeal said people who want to protect their chickens need to get a $25 hot wire and put it around the chicken coop. “That bear touches it once it will never come back,” McAyeal said. “Put your garbage up.” McAyeal is now on the hunt to get to the bears before the trapper. If you want more information on the Bear League or to help visit their website www.savebears.org or call their hotline at (530) 525-7297.