The community of Missoula County, Montana, experienced something of a Goldilocks and the Three Bears remix on Friday, June 21, when a young black bear was caught napping inside of a residential home.
Around 5:45 in the morning, a black bear wandered into a home in the Butler Creek area of Missoula.
“The door had been ajar,” Jamie Jonkel told The Missoulian. “He must have tested it and stepped inside.”
Jonkel is a wildlife management specialist for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.
Once he was inside, the bear somehow locked himself in the home’s mudroom.
The bear’s racket woke up the family who quickly called 911, Deputy Andrew Beatty told the Missoulian.
Cpl. Zach Sargent and Deputy Beatty responded to the call and were quickly filled in on what was happening. Both men expected to find the bear still trashing the inside of the house or hiding underneath something, but they found something much more hilarious.
The bear had opened a closet and decided to take a nap on the wooden shelf inside.
“When we first walked up and saw him in the closet, we just started laughing,” Sargent said.
The deputies tried knocking on the window and unlocking the door to rouse the bear and coax him outside, but the bear was not ready to get up.
“When deputies knocked on the window, the bear was not the least bit impressed,” the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office wrote in the Facebook post. “He slowly stretched, yawned and, unamused, looked toward the door.”
In a video posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, the bear can be seen lazily looking at the deputies as one of them says, “What are you doing mister? Are you just hanging out?”
“He just went back to bed,” Beatty told the Missoulian.
The only option at that point was to wait for the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department to show up to help relocate the animal. When they arrived, the bear was tranquilized safely and moved out of the home.
He has since been set free in the foothills of the Mission Mountains to the northeast of Missoula.
Jonkel notes that bear activity is very common this time of the year.
“We’ve had a ton of activity in Grant Creek and Butler Creek,” he told the Missoulian. He also noted that bears are attracted to bird feeders, dog food and trash.
Both the Sheriff’s department and the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department agree on the takeaway from this story: Homeowners need to lock their doors!
“This is another good reason to lock up, as we also have unconfirmed reports that he tried two other closets before he decided this one was juuuuuust right (kidding)!” the sheriff’s office joked. “But seriously, lock up!”
While this 3-year-old bear cub may have acted cute and cuddly, he is still a wild animal. It is important to remember to enjoy wildlife from a distance for everybody’s safety.
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