Party-Crashing Bear has Taste for Cupcakes

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

July 2, 2014

A young black bear turned out to be the life of the party last week, when it fell through a Juneau, Alaska, home’s skylight and proceeded to gobble up treats intended for the guests celebrating a boy’s first birthday. You’ll also read about the fourth state to prohibit the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for hunting or scouting, and much more!

Bear Crashes Alaska Birthday Party, Literally
A black bear crashed a Juneau, Alaska, toddler’s first birthday party just before guests began to arrive Saturday, helping itself to cupcakes and treats in front of startled parents.

A bear with a sweet tooth crashed a toddler's birthday party. (Photo by Alicia Bishop)
A bear with a sweet tooth crashed a toddler’s birthday party.
(Photo by Alicia Bishop — the boy’s mom)

“I was…in the room, and I heard this cracking,” Glenn Merrill told the Juneau Empire newspaper. “And the next thing you know, there’s this bear that, I mean, literally, fell right from (the skylight).”

When the bear recovered from its fall, it calmly wandered over to the table and helped itself to lemon blueberry and peanut butter cupcakes. Merrill, 45, whose 1-year-old son Jackson was in the adjoining room at the time, locked eyes with the bear as the two stared at each other in disbelief.

“I don’t know who was more stunned,” he said. “I think, both.”

Jackson’s mom, Alicia Bishop, observed the events from the adjacent kitchen, behind glass doors.

“The bear walks over and puts its paws up on the table and starts licking his birthday cupcakes, and I’m just like, you’ve got to be kidding me,” said Bishop, 33.

The bear was inside the house for about three or four minutes, before they successfully shooed it through an open door and into the front yard. But the incident didn’t end there, the couple said, as the determined bruin came around the back of the house and peered inside from the backyard porch.

“It was up by the window like, ‘I want more cupcakes,’” Bishop said.

About 30 minutes after the bear retreated to the nearby woods, officials from the

Alaska Department of Fish and Game responded to a call not far from the site of the original home-crashing, where they shot and killed a 180-pound male bear that had entered a home. It was presumed to be the same bruin that had a taste for cupcakes, and, unfortunately, little fear of humans.

Another State Bans Drones For Hunting
New Mexico became the fourth state last week to prohibit the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for hunting and game scouting, as other agencies and lawmakers across the country examine the potential uses — legitimate and otherwise — of so-called drones by those in the outdoor community.

In a 5-1 vote June 26, the New Mexico Game Commission approved a proposal prohibiting the use drones to locate game, to harass a game animal or to hunt a protected species within 48 hours of observation with a drone.

Under the new rule, “drones can’t be used for looking for game, locating it, seeing where they are,” said commission vice-chair Bill Montoya. “We’ve got what we call fair chase, and I think we’re getting to the point where using drones and so forth doesn’t give the animals a chance. It’s not sportsmanlike.”

In January, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to make Colorado the first state to prohibit civilian use of drones by hunters. Within weeks of Colorado’s action, Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commissioners outlawed drones for use by hunters as part of its 2014-15 hunting regulations. Then, in April, the Alaska Board of Game approved a measure to ban hunting big game with the aid of UAVs, based on its longtime prohibition of same-day airborne hunting, meaning hunters cannot pursue big game animals on the same day they fly-in to a location.

Game agencies in Idaho and Wisconsin have determined drone use is already covered under current prohibitions of aircraft to hunt, to harass hunters or to disturb wildlife.

Positive Session For Gun Owners Ends In Florida
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed several pro-gun measures into law in June that covered clarifying use of force, ending insurance discrimination against gun owners and another known as “The Pop Tart Bill.”

HB89 changes the interpretation of the threatened use of force, making it legal for one to effectively display a weapon in a self-defense situation if proper justifications are met.

HB225/SB 424 prohibits discriminatory insurance practices against firearms owners, permitting them to sue companies directly if they feel their policy was canceled or denied due to a firearms ownership or collection.

HB 7029 or “The Pop Tart Bill” addresses zero tolerance guidelines relating to school students and simulated firearms. The measure was drafted in response to an incident last year in which an elementary-school student was suspended for chewing a breakfast pastry into the vague shape of a gun. The measure provides that such action by a student “is not grounds for disciplinary action or referral to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.”

NSSF Comments On FWS Ammo Study
The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association serving the firearms and ammunitions industry, recently issued a statement in response to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s preview of a study regarding traditional ammunition and bald eagle mortality in the upper Midwest.

According to NSSF, that preview has led to news stories misleading the public into thinking the use of traditional ammunition containing lead components is having a population-level impact on bald eagles.

“No conclusive evidence exists that shows hunters and target shooters using traditional ammunition have caused a decline in the population of raptors,” reports NSSF. “Rather, raptor populations, including the population of bald eagles, continue to steadily rise – a welcome and positive trend that coincides with the longstanding, widespread use of traditional ammunition by sportsmen across America.”

For more than 80 years, an 11 percent excise tax that manufacturers collect and pay on ammunition sales has supported conservation and habitat-preservation efforts, providing more than $207 million for conservation in 2012 alone. These funds greatly benefit the health and populations of bald eagles.

Quote Of The Week
“Whitetails aren’t often hunted in real wilderness. They are often hunted in the tamest of farmlands. But even in a horse-weed patch at the edge of a cornfield, a deer lends special wildness to the land so that wherever the deer is found, it is truly a wild place. Deer carry wilderness entangled in their antlers; their hoofprints put the stamp of wildness on tame country.”
– John Madson,
Out Home
, 1979

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at


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