Second bear shot dead in Franklin

Posted Oct. 26, 2008, at 8:44 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:17 a.m.

FRANKLIN, Maine — For the second time in a week, a hunter has shot to death a black bear that has been harassing domestic animals in this Hancock County town.

And this may not be the last.

Roy Warren Jr. of Franklin shot the bear at the home of his cousin, Bobbi Jo Jordan, on Friday night after the bear tried to get into the barn that housed her two paint quarter horses. Warren said, however, that he also heard another bear in the woods near Jordan’s home Friday night.

The male bear had been around the area for several weeks, according to Jordan.

“This was the third time I’ve seen him, but he’s probably been out here other times,” Jordan said Saturday. “Each time, he never got anything to eat. I don’t know why he kept coming back except to get at the horses.”

Late Wednesday night, a black bear was shot and killed at the property of Becka and Jeff Gagne in Franklin.

The male bear shot by Warren on Friday night was estimated to weigh around 200 pounds and had been trying to get into the horse barn since early this month, Jordan said. On his second visit last weekend, the bear was about a foot away from scaling the bottom portion of a double barn door and getting into a stall with one of the horses, she said.

The bear and the horse were almost nose to nose, she said.

Jordan’s father fired a shot in the air and the bear ran into the woods toward a neighboring trailer. The bear tried to climb onto the trailer and clawed the side of the building.

By Friday, Jordan had beefed up the fencing around the barn, and, working with a game warden, had set up a live barrel trap near the barn.

“He wasn’t interested in the trap one bit,” Warren said. “That ain’t what he wanted. He wanted something to fatten him up.”

At about 8 p.m. Friday, Jordan noticed the bear was back. She had gone outside with her dog on a leash and a flashlight.

“I was a little skittish,” she said. “I had a flashlight and I shone it around and I saw some eyes through the brush. He was just sitting there.”

Jordan went back in the house and called her cousin.

Warren said he sat in his truck, parked near the barn and the live trap. For a while, the bear seemed content to play hide and seek around the yard.

“I’d step out of the truck and he’d disappear into the shadows,” he said. “He kept coming back. He wasn’t afraid of humans at all.”

The bear disappeared into the woods and behind a hay barn, and circled around between a horse trailer and Jordan’s home. The first time that happened, Warren said, he was unable to shoot because the light from Jordan’s porch disrupted his vision through the scope. But when the bear came back, he had a clear view and shielded the light, and took the bear with one shot.

Jordan lives just about 3 miles from the Gagnes’ home where Larry Scott shot a female bear suspected of killing two goats in separate attacks at the farm over the past few weeks. That bear also was suspected of killing another goat at the farm of John Roscoe and Jennifer Minard in Sullivan, located about two miles from Jordan’s place.

Roscoe and Minard hoped to compare the DNA from the meat from that bear to scat taken from their farm in an effort to determine whether it was the same bear.

There have been reports of other bear-related incidents this fall in the area, but no additional reports of animals being killed. Some area residents have reported seeing bears on their porches. The bear Warren shot weighed 220 pounds before it was dressed. When they cut it open, he said, the bear’s belly was full of bird seed and suet.

While the attacks may seem more frequent than is ordinary, Game Warden Dave Simmons said it is not abnormal behavior for bears and is not unusual in an area where there are a lot of bears.

Simmons said he didn’t like to see the bears killed, but noted that all of the farmers had taken nonlethal measures in an effort to capture the bears.

“They exhausted the nonlethal methods,” he said.

Although she said she wasn’t happy to see the bear killed, Jordan said she is relieved that it won’t be bothering her horses any more.

But she said she remains on guard.

Although her cousin shot one bear Friday, he said he heard another one in the woods calling. Warren said that several years ago, someone took a picture of three bear cubs in a tree. There’s some thought that these bears might be the same ones grown up.

“I’m relieved, but we think there’s another one out there,” she said. “I’m keeping my horses locked up at night.”

That’s the advice Simmons offers to area residents. Bears are attracted to the smells of trash, bird seed and farm animal feed, he said, and he urged people to keep those kinds of things covered well. He also said that doors and windows on barns should be kept shut.

rhewitt@bangordailynews.net

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