‘Problem’ bear killed in Mammoth Lakes

– Mammoth Lakes Police Department press release

On Sunday, November 30 at approximately 10:20 a.m., Mammoth Lakes Police Officers and Steve Searles, Mammoth Lakes Wildlife Specialist, responded to a report of a bear being shot in Sierra Valley sites.  Upon arrival they were met by a local resident who reported he had shot a bear.

mlpdlog

The resident reported the same bear had broken into his garage numerous times in the past few weeks.  Steve Searles responded to several of the previous incidents and confirmed that this resident was dealing with a problem bear.

On November 30, the bear again broke into the resident’s garage and began tearing apart his refrigerator.  The resident yelled at the bear and it went outside.  He followed the bear in an attempt to get the bear to leave the area.  The bear bluff charged the resident who ran to the front of the house.  The bear began following the resident to his front door.

The resident reported being in fear of his life and retrieved a shotgun from inside his residence.  The bear charged him again, turned away, and turned towards the resident again and approached.  The resident fired one round into the bear’s buttocks.  The bear then left the area.

An officer located the bear a short distance away and observed that it was seriously injured.  The officer then put down the bear with one shot.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Estrada responded and conducted an investigation.  After speaking with the resident, Warden Estrada concluded that the depredation of the bear was justified and he issued a post-mortem depredation permit.  After DNA evidence was extracted from the bear, it was removed and disposed in an undisclosed location in the forest.

Residents and visitors are reminded to secure all vehicles, garages, and residences.  Food should never be left accessible or in sight.  Bears are very intelligent and have the ability to smell food in a locked vehicle or garage.  Cars and residences are broken into several times each year.  Some bears are still out and eating as much as they can before hibernating.  Please don’t encourage bad bear behavior.

The public is also reminded that Steve Searles and MLPD officers are equipped with non-lethal weapons that can be used to discourage bad bear behavior.  Anyone experiencing problems with a bear should call 911 and report what is occurring.  That will allow the most experienced and best equipped people to respond and take the best course of action for both public safety and proper bear management.

 

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53 Comments
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really?
really?
6 years ago

Wow, another Black unarmed bear shot by a White police officer… I bet he wouldn’t have shot it if it was a polar bear.

TRJ
TRJ
6 years ago

Yea no kidding he is over paid, and the job isn’t getting done.

sierragirl
sierragirl
6 years ago

I just found out how much Steve the bear guy gets paid. Wow, I don’t think that is money well spent. Biologist don’t get paid that in the State of California and they have masters degrees, this guy doesn’t even have a high school diploma. He is selling the town… Read more »

p ite
p ite
6 years ago

im not sure how much of the bears natural feed habitate was lost while the building of mammoth and what the bears actually feed on im just wondering if maybe some of this could be rebuilt ?

Trouble
Trouble
6 years ago

You can lock me up , but you can’t eat me!

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

The chiefs approach to Bear management reminds me of the war on drugs. His Bear management program is nothing but job security. Like Boo Boo said it’s not a Bear management problem as much as it’s a people management problem. Rubber bullets and hazing bears is a re-active backwards approach.… Read more »

familygal
familygal
6 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Mark, does the public need to be “educated” not to have food in their homes????? really? It’s not a ‘people managemen’ program that is needed, it’s the bear-guy going back to his rubber bullets and leaving his video camera and social media “let’s name this bear cub” approach to “educating”… Read more »

Dan Watson
Dan Watson
6 years ago
Reply to  familygal

No, it’s not true. Steve has not changed his approach towards adversive conditioning of bears. Other commenters have said his role should be public education. He does both. He and t he Police Department need to be contacted when a bear is in a dumpster, trying to get into a… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  familygal

Bears just don’t come out of the womb and automatically know there is food in houses. It’s learned through people being careless.

Please take some responsibility

I’m still not happy with the guy who shot the bear 🙁

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

You all say what you want, however ultimately the responsibility of the bears demise falls on the community that has failed to live among them without negatively impacting the bears environment.

Boo Boo
Boo Boo
6 years ago

What? Bear Management Program? Wildlife management programs are based on biology and other sciences. A management program considers such factors as population surveys, habitat conditions (in this case number of available picnic baskets), and carrying capacity and other factors. These programs are carried out and monitored by biologists and solutions… Read more »

The Aggressive Progressive
The Aggressive Progressive
6 years ago

Seriously? All of you really think this is Okay? Well I hope it comes to you sometime in life that we can’t manipulate MotherEarth to fit our convenient lifestyles and “common sense” in the same idea of thinking the problem goes away.. But hey, if we turn a blind eye… Read more »

Al Arnold
Al Arnold
6 years ago

To compare the killing of the thug to the killing of the bear is so lame. Typical cry baby from the liberal faction. The guy was a bully and a thug who attacked a cop. He got what was coming to him. The bear situation is way sadder. Read the… Read more »

The Aggressive Progressive
The Aggressive Progressive
6 years ago
Reply to  Al Arnold

Al Arnold, No, to dismiss the struggles of America is lame! You want to talk about cry baby’s, and point me out as a liberal, what about how the right wing medias and talking points make the rich and powerful out to be the victims, and how they are always… Read more »

Bob Loblaw
Bob Loblaw
6 years ago

You really can’t see how a government agency handing weapons powerful enough to take down a large angry bear might end up going poorly? Also, if you get shot for trying to beat up a much smaller man whom you know has a loaded gun, and is trained to use… Read more »

The Aggressive Progressive
The Aggressive Progressive
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Loblaw

Well if we collectively did care or “love” the bears, these “preservation” federal agencies should encourage people using NON-Lethal tactics that protect wildlife while protecting themselves. I assume the people in Mammoth or any other Alpine type community to be responsible enough to store and utilize a bean bag gun… Read more »

Bob Loblaw
Bob Loblaw
6 years ago
Reply to  Bob Loblaw

The point AP, is that TOML is already in deep enough water courtesy of lawsuits, and handing free weaponry in this lawsuit happy country is unlikely to help. To your second point, to call the killing of an unarmed man by police “a cultural norm” is ridiculous. The funny part,… Read more »

J R local
J R local
6 years ago

Sad to say for you A.G. we are part of mother nature. I think that the town should go back to the rules dfw has for shooting around an occupied dwelling. You can hunt 450 feet from a occupied dwelling that way when these bears leave town a law abiding… Read more »

Dan Watson
Dan Watson
6 years ago

I’d like to respond to some of the comments about the Town’s Bear Management Program and our Wildlife Specialist, Steve Searles. He has two primary responsibilities – managing the bear population and public education. The public education portion is handled through a variety of ways including informal contact with people,… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

So there is evidence the bear was a thug. Was there any witnesses who observed the bear charging the shooter?

There sure are a lot of similarities to the Mike Brown Ferguson event

this story still stinks

h
h
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

I thought your highest priority is to protect life and property – not to manage our bear population. You have done a good job during your tenure with the exception of managing Mr. Searles. It’s simply gone out of control. Many in our community feel this way but are fearful… Read more »

Brian
Brian
6 years ago
Reply to  h

Agreed- Leave the management of wildlife to our State Agency. Maybe some of us have not heard of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. We have already paid for there services as well with our state taxes. https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/ If Mr. Searles wants to showcase himself why do we have… Read more »

familygal
familygal
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

I appreciate your comments. However, I have seen the bear-guy go from carrying a rubber bullet gun in the past to now carrying a video camera. When he carried the gun we had fewer bears and bear problems. Now carrying his video camera, we have too many bears, aggressive bears,… Read more »

Lupinite
Lupinite
6 years ago
Reply to  Dan Watson

Thanks Dan,

I wish you were not leaving us.

Sierra Manor
Sierra Manor
6 years ago

The bears are getting worse in Mammoth. I used to enjoy them but they have gotten out of control and they scare me now. I have lived in Mammoth for over a decade and I think the bears are more aggressive now. I really questions Steve Searles tactics. They haven’t… Read more »

Sean
Sean
6 years ago

Good shoot. A bear charging anyone in town or breaking into a house needs to be put down. Especially if a repeat offender. I am glad I have neighbors who have some common sense, guts and guns to do what needs to be done when common sense dictates. I commend… Read more »

wagonrd
wagonrd
6 years ago

There is no food for bears in the woods of the Eastern Sierra. If you think differently, would you tell me specifically what is out there for a bear to eat? They must rely on human provided food resources to live. In other words, bears are here because if humans.… Read more »

Bob Loblaw
Bob Loblaw
6 years ago
Reply to  wagonrd

Because if elk suddenly want more food they don’t break into homes. And for the record, animals without natural predators starve all the time in nature. Nature is, in fact, cruel.

susie
susie
6 years ago

This was a problem bear. The bear has been a problem for weeks. Nothing was being done to protect the people from this bear. I feel bad for the resident who had to shoot this bear. Protecting his family should be the main thing we focus on. How horrible would… Read more »

B. Smith
B. Smith
6 years ago

I’m sure the bear was very polite, had his front legs in the air and was retreating from the gunman!!! Sound familiar? Good Job to the resident who shot this beast to protect him and his property.

Joe
Joe
6 years ago
Reply to  B. Smith

The bear walked away saying “don’t shoot”. Was it a black bear? Sounds like it was racially motivated. I suppose the guy doing the shooting was white. Great… Jesse Jackson and that Al guy might be coming to Mammoth in their private jets to make a speech. Riots in Mammoth… Read more »

eric hein
eric hein
6 years ago

With what is stated in the article I would would say that once you are back in the house stay there and call 911,but there could be facts missing such as whether or not there were other people outside nearby.As to the response earlier of “someone should move back to… Read more »

Lupinite
Lupinite
6 years ago

That bear has been a nuisance since Fall. I have confronted that bear on my porch and He was not afraid of people. He would scratch at my door almost nightly. I had been concerned of this and my safety as I did not have such a weapon to protect… Read more »

familygal
familygal
6 years ago

The bears are a big problem since the bear guy has gone from using rubber bullets on them to shooting video of them instead in the neighborhoods (he shoots rubber bullets at the school only). I feel for the man who had to shoot the bear, the amount of damage… Read more »

The Aggressive Progressive
The Aggressive Progressive
6 years ago
Reply to  familygal

Please don’t say you love them if elimination of them is necessary when they cross your Imaginary boundary line….

familygal
familygal
6 years ago

It is my opinion and my words are true to me. I do love them, but as with all things in life, when a line is crossed, it is crossed and there are consequences indeed. We can love a human being too, but if they trash private property there are… Read more »

mammothnative22
mammothnative22
6 years ago
Reply to  familygal

Familygal has it right. I’ve lived in Mammoth my whole life. We never had bear problems until we started accommodating bears. Nothing is natural about the approximately 30 bears encroaching on our 5 square miles of town…. nowhere in the world is 30 bears living this close to each other… Read more »

h
h
6 years ago

I guess Mr. Searle’s methods in dealing with problem bears are not always successful. The press release indicates that he responded to “numerous” incidents involving this bear. The press release also says nothing to indicate that the homeowner was leaving out trash or food in and around his home. In… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
6 years ago

None of you were there.

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
6 years ago
Reply to  Ken Warner

Ken Warner….The gunshot to the butt says it all…..A “charging ” bear would get it in the head or front-quarters….not the ass-end.

Scuba S.
Scuba S.
6 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

Wayne for the first time in my life living in Mammoth. I couldn’t agree more with your delusional ass this time. hahahaha Most of the time your so delusional; I grab a cup of coffee and some toast and laugh my morning away, but today is Different! Wow this is… Read more »

Trouble
Trouble
6 years ago

If a bear has or is tearing my house apart, I’m shooting it . I could care less what the law says!

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
6 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Trouble…I HATE it when someone says it wrong!!! It’s ” I COULDN”T care less. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me…COULDN’T, COULDN’T COULDN’T !

Trouble
Trouble
6 years ago
Reply to  Rick O'Brien

It’s a blog Rick, I couldn’t care less!

Rick O'Brien
Rick O'Brien
6 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

THANKS…

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
6 years ago

First time I ever heard of a bear charging a person butt-first…and what did he have loaded in his shotgun….bird pellets ???….Sad story here,but thankfully,the officer was able to locate the injured bear and put him out of his misery.Sounds to me this Mammoth Lakes bear-shooting “investigation” is a whole… Read more »

sugarmagnolia
sugarmagnolia
6 years ago

Not saying the man was right or wrong……but what about the No Shooting ordinance in Mammoth? I thought there were NO exceptions to that law?

Brian
Brian
6 years ago
Reply to  sugarmagnolia

You are always justified to discharge a firearm to protect yourself. The town No Shooting Ordinance doesn’t negate your ability to protect yourself. I believe the shooting was justified. It is however a shame that the TOML has gotten in the way of protecting it’s citizens from problem bears. The… Read more »

Mark
Mark
6 years ago

I will respectively disagree. I feel the shooting was not justified.

Someone should move back to the city.

Tinner
Tinner
6 years ago

Shooting a bear in the butt is justified? Doesn’t sound justified to me. If the bear “turned towards the resident again and approached” how did the bear get shot in the butt? Was the bear walking backwards maybe? I understand it sometimes has to be done but if your going… Read more »

Boo Boo
Boo Boo
6 years ago
Reply to  Tinner

Paws up, Don’t shoot!

Lorijellybean
Lorijellybean
6 years ago
Reply to  Boo Boo

^ ::Giggle:: That’s bad. 😀

Yogi
Yogi
6 years ago
Reply to  Boo Boo

No sense of humor on this blog.

I am off to find a picnic basket. Catch me if you can Mr. Searles. My rump is still sore from the last time you caught me.