The bear expert has experience evicting bears from urban locations
A bear expert who shared footage of himself crawling into a crawl space with a black bear and shooting it with a paintball gun to scare it away says don’t try this at home.
Toogee Sielsch shares his interactions with wildlife on his Instagram page. His profile states that he focuses on South Lake Tahoe’s urbanized black bear population.
A December 26, 2023, video shows Sielsch holding a paintball gun and peeking into a crawl space under a building before he enters and disappears.
Shortly after, you can hear the sound of a paintball gun popping off eight times before a huge black bear squeezes out from underneath the structure.
A person outside says, "He’s a big bear, oh my goodness."
"Oh yeah, he’s 500 pounds, easy," Sielsch says as he crawls out from under the house.
In the Instagram post, Sielsch says he was glad to have he found the bear he calls B33, which he had not seen since early November. He said the bad news was that he had to evict B33 from under an occupied house.
"I promise he’s just fine and will surely find another safer spot to overwinter," Sielsch said. "PS, don’t even think about doing what I did there unless you have years of training and experience."
Sielsch told Fox News Digital that his first encounter with B33 occurred when the young bear weighed only about 150 pounds and had a collar on it. Then, about a year later, the bear had grown to 400 pounds and still had the collar on, which was threatening its life.
He and wildlife officials tranquilized the large bear and removed the collar, saving its life.
Sielsch said he and the bear have become familiar with each other over the years.
He also says this type of encounter is common and that he performs about 30 evictions of bears a year — all for free.
"I love my community and this is how I pay them back."
"It's kind of become my passion," Sielsch said.
After evicting a bear, he often leaves behind an electric bear mat, which is livestock fencing with electric voltage put into a mat, to help deter bears from returning.
He also says he usually doesn’t have to crawl under houses or use paintball guns to scare the bears away. He says simply shouting usually works.
Sielsch says unless someone has years of training and experience, they should not crawl under a home with a bear.
"Safety is the most important factor," he said.