Bears are breaking into the homes of Naknek residents

Jul 9, 2019

Wanda Kie-Miller made eye contact with a bear breaking in to her house around 3:00 a.m. Residents around Naknek have had similar experiences in this unusual spike of activity. 

Credit Stephannie Blatchford

A bear busted through the front door of Wanda Kie-Miller’s home in Naknek around 3:00 a.m Wednesday morning. Kie-Miller says her friend was downstairs when it happened.

“I came from my bedroom and looked about top of the stairs, and it was looking right at me," she said. "His head was looking, I don’t know if it saw Tom or not. Tom went down and got the pistol and shot at him and he took off and yeah, it was pretty scary. Didn’t expect that.”

The front door was damaged, but no one was harmed in the incident. Kie-Miller’s parents also experienced a bear break-in about a week and a half ago. They were not home at the time.

Credit Stephannie Blatchford

Kie-Miller’s daughter, Stephannie (steh-FANNY) Blatchford, was caring for her grandparents’ garden while they were away. Blatchford discovered what she believed was the aftermath of a bear break-in.

“I just happened to go over there cause I needed to water it and I looked around the corner and their whole backyard was full of trash and that scared me," she said. "I started running back to my mom’s house to go get them to clean it up; they were due back home within three hours of me finding it.”

Dave Crowley from Alaska Fish and Game said it is likely a young adult brown bear and activity is normal for this time of year. The canneries and processors dealt with some bear interference before processing began in June. However, the bear activity around the residential areas of the Alaska Peninsula Highway is unusual. 

“With this particular bear he’s going through the front doors so the normal precautions aren’t really all that effective. Wanda’s home might have been first place that was occupied with people that he actually broke into," he said. "The two previous places…. one was a house that was unoccupied and got into groceries and the other was a warehouse and he broke down that door and got into some freezers.”

Credit Stephannie Blatchford

Crowley said residents should practice basic precautions by securing food and trash. He also recommends one extra step.

“You know if folks in that neighborhood have a deadbolt, in addition to the regular doorknob - I would you know throw that deadbolt and just be aware if something goes bump in the middle of the night at the front door should start paying attention.”

Crowley says he’s hoping bear problems this season are peaking out with the fish coming up the rivers. If you experience any issues with bears be sure to call ADF&G in King Salmon at (907) 246-3341 or State Troopers at (907) 246-4222.

UPDATE: We included information about the type of bear breaking into residents home. It is a young adult brown bear.

Contact the author at tyler@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.