Alaska News

Juneau resident shoots black bear trying to raid freezer

A Juneau homeowner shot and killed a male black bear early Thursday after it repeatedly tried to raid a freezer on the porch, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Stephanie Sell, an acting area wildlife biologist, said the homeowners on Mendenhall Loop Road had dealt with a black bear in the past. They installed an electric fence around their chicken coop after a bear attempted to grab their poultry, she said.

While remodeling their home, Sell said, the homeowners moved a freezer onto their front porch, which she likened to an arctic entryway. The homeowners said a bear had gotten into the unlocked freezer, which was full of food, so they secured mesh across the porch entrance.

"The bear came back this morning," she said. It climbed the railing, attempting to get through a side opening and onto the porch.

The bear was shot and killed by a homeowner, who reported the incident to the Juneau Police Department. Officers and Alaska State Troopers responded to the home around 6:15 a.m., troopers said.

Sell said the homeowners must complete the skinning of the bear and removal of its skull, required under "defense of life or property" regulations. The meat will be donated to a charity, troopers said.

"It sounds like they were trying to do the right thing," Sell said. "Is a freezer on your porch available for bears a good idea? No. But sometimes people don't have a choice."


Troopers reported that on Tuesday a Wasilla man shot and killed a black bear that he said had attempted to enter his home.

Sell said the bear shootings are a reminder for people to keep bear attractants secured, especially until the animals begin hibernating in mid-October.

"If there are easy targets, whether it be trash or chicken coops that don't have electric fences, that's going to be a problem for everyone," she said. "They don't have a reason to den if they're continuously eating."

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.