Calling All Cars – Be Bear Aware!
By: Kris Hazelton
Even though we’re now into late fall, be aware that not all of the bears have hibernated yet.
Just last week a local family had their vehicle broken into and destroyed by a hungry bruin, looking for food.
The car was parked in the driveway of the family home. As evidenced by paw prints, the bear popped open the driver’s side door and hopped in for a look see. Apparently, the door shut right behind him and the bear became trapped. The bear panicked as he realized there was no easy way out and he struggled to get out of the car. Clawing at the dashboard and door panels, ripping at the seats and chewing on anything he could, frustrated that he was unable to run free.
The bear completely tore out the ceiling of the car, and even bent the back seat up trying to find any way out.
The bear narrowly missed having the passenger side airbag deploy in his face as you can see from the photos that he clawed all the way down to the cover of the airbag.
Somehow, the bear must have managed to hit the door release just right or finally managed to force the passenger side door open and he got away.
When the family returned home, they noticed their car sitting in the driveway with the passenger door wide open.
Imagine their shock when they found the interior of their car torn to shreds! It didn’t take long to figure out that a bear had spent the evening in their car.
According to the family, there was probably a candy wrapper from some Halloween candy in the car that the bear was after.
After having the car towed to the repair shop, the estimate the family got was $35,000 to have it repaired, thus leaving the car totalled.
This is a good reminder for us all to always lock your vehicle (though some bears have even learned to open locked doors) and make sure that you don’t leave any food of any kind in your vehicle that might attract a bear. All windows should be rolled up tight, with no open gaps so a bear cannot put his paw into the opening and shatter your window to gain entry.
Even non food items you might have in your car such as chapstick, gum or gum wrappers, soaps, lotions and air fresheners can attract a bear.
It is extremely important to keep your car interior clean to prevent bear break-ins. Look under seats, vacuum, and make sure there are no leftover foods or food containers in your car.
The incident is a good reminder for us all to be Bear Aware at any time of year.