By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – It’s not a common occurrence, but a black bear has been sighted in Howard.
Around 9:30 a.m., May 22, a juvenile black bear was caught on video by Press correspondent Rich Palzewic crossing Evergreen Avenue by Graceland Terrace.
“It’s not necessarily an everyday occurrence, but we have had bears in Brown County and Green Bay before,” said Aaron Wright, wildlife technician with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties.
Wright said most of the occurrences happen around this time of year as wildlife is starting to move around.
Typically it’s a juvenile seeking out a new terrority, testing their limits, Wright said.
“Probably this one has moved off and is on its own,” he said. “Momma bear probably knows a little bit better than this one. Normally the nuisance issues are with young bears who are newly on their own now, and it happens like this with most nuisance type wildlife.”
Young bears can be drawn to urban areas by their noses in search of food.
“They’re trying to scanavage like a racoon, but just a much bigger version,” Wright said.
In the majority of cases where a bear is sighted in an urban area, typically they do not return.
In the past the DNR had to deal with a bear by the Military Avenue and Mason Street area.
“Normally they come in and go away quickly and no one will ever see them again,” Wright said. “Sometimes they become a problem if they frequent someone’s backyard or bird feeders.”
If someone noticed their bird feeder has been torn down in the Howard area, it could have been the bear.
If that’s the case Wright advises people to take down that bird feeder so the bear does not become accustomed to a source of food in a neighborhood.
If a bear is unable to be scared away, trained DNR staff will chemically immobilize the bear and relocate it to a more rural area. As an absolute last resort the bear might have to euthanized.
But Wright said most of the time it never gets that far, or even to chemical immobilization.
“This isn’t a yearly occurrence by any means, but it has happened,” he said.
Most likely this bear will not be seen again.
“Mom probably knows better and wants to stay away, and elsewhere this one is wandering around,” he said. “You may never see it again and hopefully that’s the case.”
Just like any other type of wildlife, if someone sees a bear, they are encouraged to stay away.
“With bears, obviously if you are approached, or a bear doesn’t know you are there, you want to make your presence known, jump up and down, wave your hands, be goofy,” Wright said. “Ninety nine out of 100 times they’re going to hit the ground and run out of there.”