A local family fears for their lives after aggressive bears keep returning to their property.
They live about a mile from downtown Washougal, WA, and have been seeing black bears on a daily basis.
"We see bears every year, but usually I just scare them off and they leave and they don't come back but this time, they're a little more aggressive," said Kathee Gaudren, who most recently spotted the bears in her yard Thursday night.
In their search for food, the bears have targeted the garbage shed, the truck the family uses to haul trash away and the garden that is fenced in. The paw prints and claw markings are a reminder of what Gaudren said she fears the most.
"I'm afraid one of us will get hurt or killed and I don't want to kill the bear, but I will if I have to," Gaudren said.
She said she doesn't feel safe outside without her gun - though the only deterrent they've used so far is an air horn.
Gaudren said similar run-ins with bears are happening to her neighbors too.
"My neighbors about 300 yards behind us, they see them all the time too. (My neighbor) thinks there's a den down there (in the woods)."
An officer with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who's investigating Gaudren's concerns said a bear was trapped at a property nearby on Wednesday. She has advised Gaudren to use negative reinforcement first, like electrifying the fence around the garden. The Gaudrens had planned to make that improvement on Saturday.
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