Here are some pictures of bear claw marks on our house. The
bear was going after a bird feeder from the deck. We were not home at the time.
Our cat Amara must have seen the bear on the deck becuase she hid under the
bed for two days afterwards. The bear had been getting the suet. I thought it
was a bit much for a squirrel to take down but I didn't put it together until
the bear came on the deck. We took down our bird feeders for a while and later
moved them away from the house to the deck railings. The bear also left some
scat in the front yard.
In the summer of 1999, I was finding the compost barrel repeatedly tipped over. I figured it was a bear. After repeated tippings (cleaning up is not fun), I decided to get tough. I screwed the barrel into the ground really good and put rocks around the base. All was well for a week or so.
One day, I went outside and something told me to look around. There was a black bear sitting on its haunches right next to the barrel. It has gotten the top half of the compost barrel off and was muching away. I called for Dawn to look. We got a bit closer. Dawn went inside and got some pots and pans and chased the bear away. We have not seen it since.
I recently saw a bear on our deck trying to get at some bird feeders while I was taking a nap. The bear ran off after I came outside. It appeared to have scaled the deck supports rather than going up the stairs. See below for articles relating to a long standing bear study being conducting in Conway (near our house).
Cardoza, J.E. 1976. The history and status of the black bear in Massachusetts and adjacent New England states. Mass. Div. Fish & Wildl. Res. Bull. 18, 113pp.
Cardoza, J.E. 1997. Longbeards and long claws. Mass. Wildl. 48(4):11-17.
Cardoza, J.E., M.W. Sayre, and K.D. Elowe. 1990. Black bears in Massachusetts. The 1970's to the 1990's. Mass. Wildl. 40(4):10-17, 30-31.
Elowe, K.D. and W.E. Dodge. 1989. Factors affecting black bear reproductive success and cubs urvival. J. Wildl. Manage. 53:962-968.
Elowe, K.D., D.P. Fuller, and T.K. Fuller. 1991. Survival and cause- specific mortality rates of black bear in western Massachusetts. Trans. Northeast Section of the Wildl. Soc. 48:76-80.
Jonker, S.A., J.A. Parkhurst, R. Field, and T.K. Fuller. 1998. Black bear depredation on agricultural commodities in Massachusetts. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 26:318-324.
McDonald, J.E., Jr. and T.K. Fuller. 1994. Black bear food habits: beyond the same old scats. Proc. Int. Congr. Game Biol. 21:293-298.
McDonald, J.E., Jr., D.P. Fuller, T.K. Fuller, and J.E. Cardoza. 1994. Influence of food abundance on success of Massachusetts black bear hunters. Northeast Wildl. 51:55-60.
McDonald, J.E., Jr., D.P. Fuller, R. Bachand, and T.K. Fuller. 1994. GIS analysis of black bear distribution relative to landscape features in western Massachusetts, USA. Proc. Int. Congr. Game Biol. 21:376-379.
McDonald, J.E., Jr. and T.K. Fuller. 1998. Testing assumptions in bear research: using statistical power analysis to estimate effects of den type on black bear cub survival. Ursus 10:405-411.
We have continued to see a number of bears on the deck. Most of time, it seems to be a small bear who runs away when we come out. It or a friend got into our neighbor's house recently and exited through the dog doors. We are now religiously bringing in bird feeders when not home and at night. Most of the time, the bear appears around dusk. The bear also damaging a hummingbird feeder.