One family in Concordia Parish was dealing with something that terrorized them for a little less than a week.
The culprit? A bear.
“I was at the Denver Airport getting ready to fly home and my security camera went off and a bear was on my porch,” said Pat Davis Clepper. “He busted out the screen out on the porch and was there right by the door.”
That incident occurred on Oct. 27. That wasn’t the only time Clepper said she saw the black bear. Clepper and her daughter, Tish Giamanco said they had several run-ins with the bear in a six-day span.
“The next day he (bear) was on my back porch opening my deep freezer,” Clepper said. “I opened my back door because we had the gun with rubber bullets and I opened the storm door. I looked him in the eye and he looked me in the eye. I moved over and my daughter shot him and he ran off but when she went to shoot him again, the gun jammed and the bullet got stuck. I’ve had people tell me not to do that again. He could’ve run and attacked us. I put my child in danger.”
Clepper’s daugher, Tish Giamanco who lives with her mother, said the moment the bullet got stuck, was a frightening one.
“I screamed to my mom to shut the door,” she recalled. “Thank God he ran the other way because if he would’ve ran toward us, it could’ve been a different story.”
Giamanco said the bear had been more than just a nuisance. She said they’ve seen bears near their home in the past but not one like this current situation. Clepper and Giamanco live about five miles from Jonesville.
“It’s not scared of you,” Giamanco stated. “They told us before not to put out scraps and get horns. We’ve been doing what they want us to do but those things aren’t working all the time.”
Clepper and Giamanco said they feel like there was not much more they could do as the bear continued to wreak havoc near their home.
“They said even though he broke into my screened-in porch but since it wasn’t in my home, I couldn’t kill him,” Giamanco said. “We shouldn’t have to live in fear.”
Clepper and Giamanco installed an electric fence around the back and side of their home with the help of a couple of Wildlife and Fisheries employees.
The fence was completed on Nov. 2 and since then, Giamanco said they have not seen the bear.
“So far we haven’t seen him,” she said. “Since Wednesday we’ve been able to sleep a little easier.”
John Hanks, the large carnivore program manager at the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said an electric fence is the best way to keep bears away from property.
“We tell all of our people, if you get an electric fence, we’ll help you put it up,” Hanks said.
According to bearwise.org, other tips to keep bears away include using trash can enclosures, and unwelcome mats. The mats are sheets of plywood with sharp nails or screw points sticking through that make it impossible for a bear to stand or walk.
The purpose is to keep a bear from standing in front of a door or window and using its weight and dexterity to break through into a building.
Hanks said using bear spray is also a trusted method to deter the animals. “Bear spray is twice as strong as police pepper spray,” Hanks added.
Before the fence was installed, Clepper said if she is faced with another situation with a bear near her home, her choice might be different next time.
“They have too many bears out there,” Clepper said. “It’s all about the bears. I have no rights but the bear has every right. I almost killed myself and my daughter. My daddy would be turning over in his grave if he knew what happened. If a man or woman breaks into my house I can shoot them but not the bear. If he comes back on my property, I’m killing him. I won’t put my family in jeopardy again.”