Bear Breaking into Chicken and Duck Coops

Bear eating berries on Otmeloi Way. Photo by Matt Van Daele
Bear eating berries on Otmeloi Way. Photo by Matt Van Daele

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A young bear has been wandering around, snacking on poultry in Kodiak.

Nate Svoboda, Kodiak area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, says it’s been spotted around Otmeloi Way, Antone Way, and Dark Lake.

“And it’s pretty much hooked on chicken coops and duck coops. That’s where it’s been spending the majority of its time getting into. That’s not to say that unprotected compost piles or dog food or bird seed or roll carts that are put out too early – those are all attractants as well.”

Svoboda says it’s gotten into anywhere from four to eight coops, and he says it doesn’t matter how sturdy the coops appear.

“Whatever area they want to come in, they’ll come in. So they’ll crash through the door, they’ll crash through the fence, they’ll rip through the fence. Basically whatever they have to do to get inside to get the poultry. Bears are extremely powerful, so nothing that’s constructed for a chicken coop or a duck coop is going to be able to hold them out.”

He says the best barrier is an electric fence.

“I’ve talked to a number of people with electric fences, none of which have had any issues whatsoever. It’s the individuals that do not protect their poultry or livestock with electric fences. Those are the ones that continue to have problems. And once a bear shows up at a property, it gets into their chicken coop, if it doesn’t get all the poultry on the first go-round, it’s more than likely gonna come back again.”

Svoboda says Fish and Game has electric fences it can loan residents until they can purchase one of their own, and Fish and Game will help residents to set up the fence and answer any questions they may have.

As far as a long-term solution, he says the bear will continue to wander around until it’s chased off or harvested during hunting season. He says authorities will not resort to shooting the bear unless it appears to be a direct threat to humans.

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