07/29/2010 12:21 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Dealing With a Bear in Your House

Are you afraid of encountering a bear? Most of us are! This recently happened to a friend of ours, Damaris Jarboux. Anyone staying in the mountains needs to read and be warned:

My love of birds got me into trouble. I had forgotten to take the hummingbird feeder in at night. I woke up at 3am to the sound of glass breaking. I came rushing into the living room, grabbing the pepper spray on my way, to find a huge black bear breaking into the window. It was dark, but since the drapes weren't drawn and it was a clear night I could see just enough. He had pried the window fully apart, which had been left open about 2 inches, the screen was pushed in, his head was into the house, and he was starting to squeeze his front paws in.

It is funny how the mind works! I quickly became completely calm and in a flash I knew
I would either have to face him off or vacate the house. But if I left, he would not only make a mess of the kitchen but the whole house, and would probably not be able to get out. If he did get out, he would always remember where he'd had such a feast and return over and over to repeat his success. I would never feel safe in the house again and actually no one would ever be safe there again, least of all the bear, as it would eventually lead to his being killed (usually does with repeat attempts at breaking in).

If I confronted him, I would have to get to him before he came further into the house through the window so that he would withdraw rather than come in the rest of the way in a truly crazed and angry state. So I started screaming at him. I told him he was a f------ freeloader and he had plenty to eat outside, ect. (I will never forget the look on his face as I screamed this!). This momentarily stopped him and allowed me to get within about 4-5 feet where I was able to blast him straight in the face with the pepper spray. For the right spray, see the Center for Wildlife Information. Or go to this article.

He roared a terrible roar and pulled back to the porch where he started whirling around in circles rubbing his face with his paws (I flipped the porch light on to see what he was doing). Then he leaped onto the flagstone wall and literally flew into the air and down the West meadow, running as fast as he could. His butt was the last thing I saw. I don't think he will be back, because instead of delicious free food he has some pretty painful memories.

It was all my doing of course, as I should never have left the hummingbird feeder out at night. I had gotten lax because I haven't seen any bears for years. Nor will I ever leave that window open at night again, just in case he is tempted. And I shall keep the pepper spray very close at hand!

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