Two kids come face-to-face with black bear in Tahoe as experts cringe

by Placerville Newswire / Mar 31, 2017 / comments

[David Strege]

A black bear wandered into the yard and onto the back deck of Joe Ficeto’s house in South Lake Tahoe last week, despite his efforts to scare the bear away by banging on pots and pans.

So Ficeto began videotaping as the black bear walked up to the window where his young son and daughter got a close-up view:

“It was a pretty crazy situation,” Ficeto told the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

And it got crazier when the bear reached up and clawed at the window.

“Definitely a little nervous,” he said.

At that point, Dash the dog ran up to the door and began barking, momentarily startling the bear but not enough to scare it off. The bear hung around for another 45 minutes before leaving.

Nevada Department of Wildlife public affairs officer Chris Healy told the Tribune the black bear was probably a young male 2 to 4 years old.

“They’re the ones that emerge first,” he said. “In an open winter without much snow, those bears will emerge around the third week of February and start looking for things to eat.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Bear League, an organization that works to keep bears safe, told CBS News Sacramento that more bears than ever before didn’t hibernate at all this winter, despite record snowfall in the Tahoe Basin. Instead, the bears have been looking for food where people live.

“We’ve been keeping records for over 20 years and this was way over the top in comparison to any other year,” Bear League executive director Ann Bryant told CBS News.

Also in the CBS News report, Bryant admonished Ficeto for what he did in the video:

Bryant told CBS News that the video serves as an example of what not to do when a bear comes near your home.

“Now that bear feels he can go up to anybody’s house, go up and sniff around the porch possibly score a meal,” Bryant said.

Healy said it’s a bad sign to see a bear wandering around a residential neighborhood, telling the Tribune, “This is the behavior that leads to trouble.”

Many on social media criticized Ficeto for allowing the kids to get so close, saying the bear could’ve easily broken through the glass.

In his defense, Ficeto said he did nothing to attract the bear to his house and makes sure to use bear-proof trashcans.