Bears spotted near homes, trails in Kittitas County
CLE ELUM, Wash. - Kelly Evans was reading inside her Cle Elum home when she heard a noise coming from her backyard. She saw something there but said she couldn't tell what it was at first.
“I thought what I saw was just a very plump golden retriever getting into my garbage can that he knocked over,” she said.
Evans said her heart started pounding when she realized the plump retriever turned out to be a small bear.
“You know that fight or flight reaction that they talk about? A combination of both. The adrenaline was running pretty high after that,” she said.
She started banging a shovel against the ground and said the bear eventually wandered away from her home.
There's also been some bear sightings on the Coal Mines Trail. The Department of Fish and Wildlife said they've gotten multiple calls about a bear walking in this area.
They said it's most likely because of the trees, plants and it's also next to some houses in case they want to stop by for a snack.
Sergeant Carlo Pace with Fish and Wildlife said the fire from last year and the lack of food options before summer may have caused them to roam closer to town.
He said they'll look for anything to eat. From bird feeders to the garbage can with leftovers from last night's dinner.
“They're hungry. They've been in slumber mode for several months over the winter,” he said.
They usually get less than five calls a year when it comes to bears, but Pace said this year it's closer to 10.
“It's unusual to have this many calls this time of year,” he said.
So, before a bear tries to go to your house for food, Pace said feeding your pets inside, putting away bird feeders and sealing up your garbage are easy steps to prevent it.
He said it better to stop it before it happens. Rather than having to trap and relocate the bear because it keeps coming back for food.
“It's not always a good scenario for the bear because that bear might be in a different bear's territory and might cause conflict. If it's a smaller bear, it's going to get the short end of the stick,” he said.
Whether you see one outside your home or walking on a nearby trail, keep your eyes open. Because you might come across a bear in Kittitas County.