Topaz residents awake to bear in pond

Topaz Ranch Estates resident Jim Hilton once lived in Alaska, so he knows what a bear sounds like.

When he awoke to his dogs barking at 4 a.m. Monday, he knew he had a visitor.

"Our dogs woke us up," he said. "We have a pen area at the rear of the house, and I could tell by the way they were barking there was something unusual going on."

Hilton got out of bed when he heard a crash.

"We have two bedroom windows we leave open at night," he said. "I went over by the window and heard this 'huff, huff, huff.' I used to live in Alaska, so I had an idea what was out there."

Hilton got his gun and a flashlight and went out.

"There, right in the middle of my pond, was a pretty good-size bear," he said. "I shouted at him, and he leaped over the fence and to parts unknown."

The bear took down the top rail of Hilton's new vinyl fence, but got out without any damage.

"Shouting usually works with those guys," he said. "I'd of fired the gun if that didn't work."

Hilton said he hasn't taken inventory of his koi to see if the bear had a snack before he was frightened off.

He said he tied his 16-foot trees to the top rail of the fence, so the bear had to have made an effort to knock it down.


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