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The killing of a young black bear by a homeowner near Lake Tahoe has ignited a heated debate among local residents there about the appropriateness of using deadly force in self-defense against animal predators. The incident, which occurred on Memorial Day in an unincorporated neighborhood of El Dorado County, California, has left the community divided, with some neighbors questioning the homeowner’s justification for the shooting.

The confrontation unfolded around 1:30 p.m. when the homeowner, whose name has not been disclosed, encountered the bear inside his living room. According to Steve Gonzalez, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the man initially tried to scare the bear away by yelling and waving his arms. When the bear allegedly acted menacingly, the homeowner retrieved his rifle and shot the bear twice. The wounded bear fled outside, climbed a tree, but eventually fell due to its injuries. The homeowner then reportedly finished off the suffering bear with a final shot to prevent further agony, the LA Times reported.

The CDFW investigated the shooting and concluded that it was a case of self-defense, resulting in no charges being filed against the homeowner. Gonzalez emphasized in the Times article, the warden’s thorough investigation and trust in the findings, asserting that the homeowner’s account was credible and that the actions were necessary for personal safety. Self-defense against animals who use a danger to humans is allowed by law in California and virtually every other state.

However, the shooting has sparked outrage among some residents, or at least one resident who was quoted in the story, and wildlife advocates. Ann Bryant, director of the Bear League, a nonprofit organization in the Lake Tahoe Basin, expressed her frustration with the CDFW’s decision. She argued that eyewitness accounts from neighbors contradict the homeowner’s story. Bryant told the Times that based on at least one neighbor’s account that the bear was never fully inside the house and that the homeowner had a history of shooting bears, raising suspicions about his true intentions.

One neighbor, Bogdan Yamkovenko, provided a detailed account of the incident that diverges from the homeowner’s narrative. Yamkovenko stated that the bear only partially entered the house and that the first shot was fired after the bear had already run outside. He also noted that he and his wife were trying to call Fish and Wildlife to handle the situation when the bear was shot a third time by the homeowner, who insisted on putting the bear out of its misery, according to Live 5 WCSC.

The conflicting stories have left the community grappling with the broader implications of self-defense laws, which are traditionally understood in the context of human threats but also apply to dangerous animal encounters. While the right to protect oneself from harm is undisputed, the debate centers on whether the homeowner’s actions were justified or excessive under the circumstances.

Despite the CDFW’s ruling, Bryant and concerned neighbors continue to seek further investigation and clarity. They argue that the bear, likely a young cub learning to survive on its own, posed no real threat and that nonlethal methods could have been employed to address the situation. The Bear League plans to pursue the matter to ensure accountability and prevent similar incidents in the future. How they plan to do that since the state authority on the matter, the CDFW, has already offered a final ruling on the matter remains to be seen.

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Had that been a ne’er do well in his home raping his daughter and he shot the ne’er do well, the home owner would be charged. (It’s Californicate you)
    Seems like excessive/unnecessary force on the surface; but then, I don’t kill snakes. I do scare them off and continue on my way and leave them be.

    • “Had that been a ne’er do well in his home raping his daughter and he shot the ne’er do well, the home owner would be charged. (It’s Californicate you)”

      Likely not, California actually has some pretty good ‘Castle Doctrine’ laws (according to California practicing lawyer Mark N.), if you break into someone’s residence, it’s game on…

      • Also depends where in CA in general, though in this case it was a State office which investigated. But still, CA isn’t all LA/SF.

  2. “posed no real threat and that nonlethal methods could have been employed to address”

    That is ALWAYS true – no bear ever posed a threat. Until it did. Then it is too late. Reminds me of the 70s, when you couldn’t claim selfdefense unless you were dead.

    This is a first world problem…

    • The people bitching about the bear being shot are the same brain dead morons who feed bears and leave trash about getting the bears acclimated to being around people and houses. They are idiots.

  3. Neighbors like his deserve to be found at the edge of the woods as a partial pair of campshorts in a pile of bear shit.

  4. No bears around here.If Yogi entered I’d blast it. There’s a bunch of video’s of Commiefornia residents confronting bears. In ILLANNOY a bipedal miscreant would be a likely intruder. I got a rifle,a shotgun & several handguns(& more) for homie🙄

  5. So what do they wanna do, hang this guy for shooting a bear? Lets just say he was bear hunting. If i was a neighbor I’d probably be glad we had somebody in the neighborhood that was locked in to the danger. Better than having a bear eat one of your daughters when they go ck the mailbox

    • “So what do they wanna do, hang this guy for shooting a bear?”

      Yes, all while ignoring a woman who miscarried due to being beaten by yoots because she had the audacity to walk down “their” street while wearing a “nice” dress. Priorities.

      • In fairness, that particular one is on the good folks of Chicago. I doubt most people in CA are even aware of the news you mentioned. Just googled it. Most of the mainstream US media stories that popped up were from FOX. One in USA today. Seems that most of the major corporate media outlets do not deem the Chicago story to be worthy of national news coverage.

  6. “Ann Bryant, director of the Bear League, a nonprofit organization in the Lake Tahoe Basin …”

    A hysterical woman. Who’d have thunk.

    I lived in Southern California for 17 years. There are black bears EVERYWHERE near the San Gabriel Mountains. The local sheriff’s deputies would kill at least one a year. I had one walk up my driveway one evening as I was grilling meat on my deck. People would post pictures of bears in their pools on social media. The bears would get into peoples’ garbage and kill pets.

    They are a NUISANCE. And there are more every year.

    Do not keep giving these stupid women space to kvetch about matters they know nothing about. No rational thought; nothing but FEEEEELLZZZZZ.

  7. I really have no time for anybody that puts the life of an animal above that if a human, for this one simple reason, an animal will never have to give an account before a Holy God.

    • Ross,

      Even more to the point, the Bible is very explicit that God gave humans dominion over animals. Technically that means humans can kill any animal they want for any reason or no reason. Of course taking the Bible as a whole we can clearly see that God charged us to be good stewards of our planet and its resources which includes the incredible gift of animals. That would preclude killing animals willy-nilly.

      Note that killing an animal which insists on invading our territory (including our homes), damaging our stuff, or attacking a human is justified and is NOT killing an animal willy-nilly.

      (Sure, we should initially try to drive-off rather than kill any animal that is invading our territory or damaging our stuff. If our attempts to drive-off said animal fail, then it is time to kill that animal.)

    • Likewise on Earth. Humans have rights because humans have reason and responsibility. You can’t prosecute or sue a thing, so you should not incur the slightest risk to a human for the sake of a thing.

      Things exist for the use of higher species – a scientific truth as well as a Biblical one. Only hippies whose brains have been diarrheafied by “animals are people too” Disney movies ascribe any “rights” to things.

      • Scientifically, humans aren’t a “higher species” — there’s no such thing — but if humans don’t take care of their own, nothing else will, either.

        While I’m entirely in favor of holding other species in high esteem, we cannot help them if we fail to help ourselves first — and I fully expect all other species (at least, the social ones) to do the same, to the best of their abilities!

        • There are most certainly different levels of species evolution and complexity, as well as a food chain with higher and lower levels that are the ecological niches of various species. I agree with the rest of your points.

  8. The article claims that the home occupant shot the bear twice with a rifle which motivated the young bear to exit the home and climb a tree.

    I have to believe that the home occupant must have used a rifle chambered in .22 LR because a young bear is NOT going to saunter outside if the home occupant shot it twice with a serious centerfire caliber such as .308 Winchester. If that is true, then it argues against the homeowner actually “hunting” the bear and concocting a story to justify the shots. (Only a complete idiot would try to hunt black bears with a rifle chambered in .22 LR.)

    • What are you talking about? I took a grizzly bear in the Florida mountains at 946 yards (verified by lazer) with a 17 HMR, in a 38 mph crosswind. You supposed “gun experts” shouldn’t be allowed to possess a wrist rocket, much less an extremely dangerous hunting rifle (aka, Assault Sniper Long-Range Weapon)

      • You, sir or ma’am, win the Intertubez for best comment of the day!

        Kudos to the myriad subtle errors that you slipped into your comment.

        • Matt,

          The poster above (using the moniker “miner 49err”) was making fun of the person who uses the moniker Miner49er and posts fairly frequently on this site.

          Thus “miner 49err” intentionally cited both non-existent grizzly bears and non-existent mountains in Florida.

          The poster worked in several additional errors intentionally such as misspelling “lazer” (correct spelling is laser) along with the claim of using a rifle chambered in insufficient caliber .17 HMR for an impossibly long shot of 946 yards in the impossible condition of a 38 m.p.h. crosswind.

          If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the frequent comment on this site who uses the moniker “Sam I Am” wrote that post.

          • I’m not sure if it was intentional to add to the ambiguity, but there is actually a mountain range in New Mexico called the Florida Mountains.

    • Largest grizzly killed was taken with a Cooey Ace 1 .22 long. It’s about shot placement, not bullet size.

      Also, apparently .308 bounces off pig skulls (TFBTV anecdote) so might as well use that M203 with HE rounds or that GAU-8 you’ve got stashed just to be sure with a bear.

      • Most popular bar round for SD in W MT (NW WY, ID) is 10 mm solid cast. Buffalo Bore, in Salmon ID, has a popular bear round. Not what you would probably hunt with, but what you carry, JIC. Probably most popular SD bear gun is the Glock G20. It has the advantage of being also able to shoot 40 S&W safely, which can keep the cost of practicing down. This is what I carry in bear country (where we live in NW MT). Friend had a large caliber light framed revolver, and it kicks hard enough that I wasn’t going to get a second shot off. It wasn’t a big jump from a 9 mm G17, to 40 S&W to 10 mm G20, and I am likely to get most of the rounds into the bear, and several at least into critical places.

        The reason for solid cast is penetration. What you don’t want to use is normal SD ammunition (such as hollow point) because when the bullet mushrooms, it doesn’t penetrate. There’s a story about a bear hunting guide down by the CO/NM border who shot his entire G20 magazine (15+1) into a charging black bear. He had switched from solid cast bear loads to SD ammunition, because the bears around him were all supposed to be hibernating. Woke up in the hospital. He had been found with the dead bear’s jaws locked around his ankle.

  9. Ohhhh, so sad, a bear. Drive down the roads and count the poor deceased possums.
    Once again the discrimination rare’s it ugly head.
    Damn, I just imagined a big ole bear knocked off in the weeds down by somewhereville dirt rode ripening in the sun for a week.
    3 weeks worth of eating factoring in the Buzzards take.

  10. The policy has always been to euthanize any bear that enters a dwelling. This bear was going to die regardless of the homeowner shooting it then or taking his chances and his family’s safety into harms way by attempting non-lethal measures or simply attempting to run away (if that would even work.) The dude did the exact right thing.

    Any bear that enters a dwelling or any other occupied or unoccupied building is a dangerous bear that needs to be put down. Period.

    Also, anti-gun and anti-self-defence activists ALWAYS lie in their statements and try to get people like this homeowner into legal trouble. That is their typical MO in situations like this. I don’t believe a word of Bogdamn Yamkovenkomvichyslaw’s BS eye-witness report.

    • You know that the neighbors were recording video of the bear. Since they didn’t show it to the authorities it likely proves the self defense claim.

  11. This is just another example of the collapse of Western civilization under the dead weight of the welfare state. When people start believing that the government will guarantee their safety they cease to be human. Those who identify with wild animals are lesser beings, not homo-sapiens.

  12. “They argue that the bear, likely a young cub learning to survive on its own, posed no real threat”
    Says the people that were sitting in front of their TV’s while this guy was going through this ordeal. Funny stuff.

    • Yep. Put a similar sized bear in their living room and watch their opinion change.

      These are the people that pick the bear in that dumb “would you rather be stuck in the woods with a man or a bear” scenario. None of them have actually seen a wild bear.

      • In fairness, their opinion might not change until they engaged in an open and mutually respectful dialog with Friend BooBoo, exploring his hopes, his needs, his desires for a better life, his concerns about a diverse society, and reassured him of their good intentions by patting him on his head.

        Then their opinion might focus upon the obvious failings of the greater society and their negative impact upon human/ursine relations.

        Briefly.

  13. Proof, once more, that humans are an unatural threat to nature. It’s Californicatia. What do you expect?

    Nothing to see here; move along.

  14. Same thing happened to a young coast guard stationed at Tahoe years ago. Except the bear was in the room with his infant child. And he used a shotgun. He was run out of town by Bryant and her threatening followers. By the way, she has a pet porcupine… kettle meet pot.

    Guy lost his preemo station at Tahoe.

  15. The 750,000 black bears of North America kill less than one person per year on the average

    I put bears ahead of humans……….

    • So your point is that the Ursine Collective should be allowed to kill more of the HomoSapiens Collective to even out this obviously specieist imbalance?

  16. I’ve been to a lot of outdoors classes and I’ve lived and camped outdoors in bear country for many years. A lot of the tree-hugger crowd (and a lot of them are outsiders, too) used to swear that bears never attack humans, but over the years that’s turned out to not be true. It’s your house: if a bear comes in your house you should be able to choose what to do. If the neighbor wants a bear in his house around his family, let him do so. Good luck.

  17. “…the bear only partially entered the house..”

    Oh. All right then. So, the homeowner should have only partially shot it, or what?

    Always remember that the people who will seriously say things such as the above quote vote. And they have very firm opinions regarding your civil rights.

    • … to be fair, when the bear that partially entered the house was shot, it only partially died and scampered off to partially climb a tree, whereupon it was shot some more and died some more, finally succumbing to the ambiant temperature challenge – Ursal Division.
      Now can we get back to FJB’s dumbass kid?

  18. I spent every summer at Tahoe from the time I was 6 months to 18 years. I never saw a bear. Nowadays, it is overrun with bears. The difference — they used to shoot bears.

  19. The bear worshippers remind me of that wackadoodle who was camping among the grizz, and eaten while cooking his bacon.

    Mmmm. Everyone loves bacon.
    Seriously, read David Barons “Beast in the Garden”

    ‘Habituation’

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