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Neighbors in Tassajara Canyon area reporting black bear sightings

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Posted at 8:53 PM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-16 11:54:37-04

Neighbors in the Tassajara Canyon area near the top of the Cuesta Grade are reporting black bear sightings once again.

The quiet neighborhood was first visited by a destructive black bear in February. One neighbor explained the bear broke into their chicken coop and killed every chicken. Just up the road, their neighbor's chicken coop had better security and the chickens were spared.

"It came up here and we didn't get to see the bear, but we could see what it had done," said Polly Cooper, Tassajara Canyon resident.

Though the bear damaged the coop trying to get to the chickens, the protective wire did its job.

"It ripped off parts of this chicken coop here, and I'm sure our chickens were terrified, but the chicken coop is very strong," said Cooper.

Her neighbors, whose chickens did not survive the February attack, have rebuilt their chicken coop with protective wire including an electric fence, ready to defend against the next bear.

Miner's Ace Hardware carries bear-proofing material, but workers say they most often cater to campers visiting the Central Coast who are looking for a way to protect their food from black bears.

"So, Yetis for example are going to be one of the top products we sell. They're bear resistant and they have bear-resistant locks," said Carly Fox, Miner's Ace Hardware San Luis Obispo Store Manager.

The store also sells wire and other tools that can be used to deter bears.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says this is a normal pattern they see every summer as bears search for a food source. Bears can survive off of acorns, but acorns won't begin to fall until the late summer months, at which point they say they start to receive fewer calls and bears travel away from the more densely populated areas.

"The typical areas that get a lot of attention are Santa Margarita to Pozo. That part of the county," said Dave Hacker, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Senior Environmental Scientist Supervisor.

Though they receive many calls, the Department of Fish and Wildlife often cannot remove a bear from the area.

"So they just come back. The other reason is, you move a problem bear, they also cause problems elsewhere if they don't come back," said Hacker.

Hacker says bears are unlikely to change their behavior, but humans can change theirs by adding fencing to their property.

"Bears, raccoons, fox, skunks, they're all out there thank goodness, but they do like to have a chicken dinner," said Fox.

If you happen to come face to face with a bear, the Department of Fish and Wildlife says so do not run. Make yourself appear very large and back away slowly to a secure area.