Bear Round-Up: Latest And Greatest

As hibernation season approaches, these bears head out for one last hurrah.
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As hibernation season approaches, these bears head out for one last hurrah.

You can't keep a good bear down—especially as hibernation-time draws near. Herewith, a round-up of recent shaggy-bear shenanigans.

-Florissant, Colo. Around 2:30 a.m., a couple awoke to what they thought was a thief trying to steal their car, and immediately called the police. Much to their surprise, the police discovered the car thief was actually a cunning young black bear; somehow, the little fellow locked himself in. After taking photos for evidence, the police opened the door and the unharmed bear quickly ran away. The inside of the car, on the other hand, suffered extensive damage—a potent reminder to never keep food in your car during bear season.

-Medford, OR. Turns out bears just want to have fun, too: A young black bear was discovered up a tree outside the playground at Lone Pine Elementary School in Medford, OR Wednesday morning. Several reports during the morning place the bear in various spots throughout the neighborhood looking for food. All the children were put on lockdown safely inside the school walls, where they watched as the bear was tranquilized, loaded into a dog crate, and driven away. Wildlife officials later released the bear 60 miles away, with ear tags to protect him from hunters.

-Bailey, Colo. Pepper spray booby traps and strapped-shut dumpsters are no match for a hot-dog loving bruin in Bailey, Colo. Since discovering the treasure trove inside the dumpster behind the local Coney Island hot dog stand, the bear visits as often as four times a week, and sometimes multiple times a night. He once showed up as early as 5 p.m., while customers were still enjoying their dinner. Wildlife officials worry that the bears have become too accustomed to human food rewards, and if the break-ins continue, they may have to euthanize the animals. The restaurant owners say they’ve requested bear-proof bins but haven’t received any yet.

-Cook City, Mont. Two hunters tracked what they thought was a black bear into a dense grove of trees when, instead of running the bear up the tree, a large grizzly charged and attacked one of the hunters. In a Cheney-esque moment, the second hunter tried to shoot the bear and shot his partner in the arm instead. Luckily, more ammunition was available and the bear was killed before he could do any real damage. The Park County Sheriff’s office found no negligence, and has ruled the event an accident.

-Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This year, people in Gatlinburg, TN have reported more bear sightings than at any other time since 1981—a fact mirrored by all the towns surrounding Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Some blame a bumper crop of acorns this year, but Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency biologist David Brandenburg also attributes population growth to other factors like an annual 20% species growth rate, more wildlife sanctuaries, and better wildlife management. Although there are more bears than ever recorded in the park, no extra problems with the bears have yet to be reported. Brandenburg also says a big harvest during this years’ hunting season could help keep the population in check.

Got any good bear stories? Share them in the comments section below!

--Jordan Olmsted

Car Thief Turns Out To Be A Bear (The Denver Post via The Outdoor Pressroom)

Bear At School Captured, Rleased (Mail Tribune via The Outdoor Pressroom)

Sweet-Toothed Bear Trashes Hot Dog Stand Dumpster (Denver Cannel 7 via The Outdoor Pressroom

A Hunters Series Of Unfortunate Events (Powell Tribune via The Goat)

Bear Maximum: Tennessee Black Bear Population Soars (WBIR)

Photo Credit: Teller County Sheriffs Office