SANDPOINT, Idaho – It could have been much worse, Douglas Harder said.
A bear broke into his Sandpoint, Idaho home on Wednesday, while Harder was out. The bear entered through the sliding door on Harder’s second-floor deck and ransacked his condo.
It took two hours to clean up the mess, but Harder is relieved that he wasn’t home – not that time, at least. It was not the first time a bear paid a visit to Harder’s condo this year, and it would not be the last.
The first visit was back in May, when a family of bears climbed up the side of Harder’s home and onto his deck. Harder watched from the living room, as a bear and two cubs polished off birdseed from his feeder.
“I knocked on the door, and the cubs looked at me but they could care less that I was there,” Harder recalls.
They returned the next day and polished off four cans of Dr. Pepper on the deck. Hoping to deter future visits, Harder scrubbed the deck with chlorine bleach and got a smaller bird feeder.
He thought he was in the clear until this week, when he came home and found his home in disarray. The bear appeared to have entered through his sliding door and got into a bag of flour, brownie mix, a Toblerone bar and a can of Pepsi. The bear left a pile of feces the size of of Harder’s foot in his living room.
Later that night, a cub tried to squeeze through his small cat door at the front entrance. Undeterred, the cub returned Friday to try the cat door once again.
“It came to the cat door Thursday night, trying again and again to get through, which is when I took the photo,” he told CNN. “It came back yesterday trying to get through the cat door again.”
It’s been a dry year in northern Idaho, and food for bears is scarce in the forest around Harder’s home near Schweitzer Mountain. He said he has called the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office and Schweitzer Mountain headquarters to report the encounters.
“I don’t want them to kill the bears. I just want them relocated,” he said. “If they don’t take care of them, someone else might.”