By John Holyoke
MEDWAY, Maine — Tiffany Stanley said she and her husband are used to things that go “bump” in the night.
There’s an apple tree next to their house, after all, and they often hear those apples fall onto the roof.
The noise that they heard early Monday morning, however, sounded a bit different.
“My husband, [Adam], heard loud noises up on the roof,” she said.
When Adam Stanley investigated, he found that they had an unwelcome visitor.
“Sure enough, there was a bear on the roof, sitting there, eating apples,” Tiffany Stanley said.
She said the bear had been making the rounds of the neighborhood over the previous two weeks, and paw and claw marks in the bed of her husband’s pickup showed it had been in their yard before, picking at household trash that didn’t even include food products.
“She was on the porch of a neighbor’s house one night, [and] across the street on another neighbor’s porch before that,” Tiffany Stanley said. “We were all well aware there was a bear around, and we were making sure trash with food in things like that were taken care of.”
The first time the Stanleys actually saw the bear was when it was on the roof, eating apples.
“My husband came back inside and got his gun. The bear had gone down the tree, but was still there in the yard,” she said. “[The bear] showed no fear but did eventually wander off. My husband yelled at it several times, but he didn’t run off. He just wandered off.”
Tiffany Stanley said the couple have two small children, ages 3 and 9, and the episode frightened her. Later that day, Adam Stanley spoke with a game warden, who said he’d try to get a live trap delivered to their home.
The hope: Capture and relocate the bear to a more rural area.
Tiffany Stanley said she didn’t think they’d have any trouble with the bear during daylight hours, so she wasn’t worried when the trap wasn’t delivered immediately.
But when her husband returned from work about 5:30 p.m. Monday, he met the bear in the driveway.
“The bear was sitting right there next to our garage,” Stanley said. “Again, [my husband] went in the house and grabbed his gun. [When he went back outside], the bear hadn’t moved at all. It wasn’t planning on going anywhere.”
Stanley said her husband then shot and killed the bear and notified a game warden.
Mark Latti, spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, provided the wording of the state law that allowed Adam Stanley to shoot the bear.
“A person may lawfully kill, or cause to be killed, any wild animal or wild turkey, night or day, found in the act of attacking, worrying or wounding that person’s domestic animals or domestic birds, or destroying that person’s property,” the law reads. “A person who kills a wild animal or wild turkey by authority of this section shall report the incident to the Maine Warden Service as provided in section 12402, subsections 3 and 4.”
The outcome wasn’t what the Stanleys had hoped for.
“We would have been happier to wait for that live trap, but when [the bear] comes back into the yard after being warned away the same day, we couldn’t wait for that,” Tiffany Stanley said.