Police Chase But Can't Catch Bear
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Monroe County sheriff’s deputies and Department of Environmental Conservation police searched for a young black bear Saturday morning who was wandering the woods and streets of Henrietta.
The bear was spotted around 7:30 a.m. near the Red Lobster restaurant on Jefferson Road. Deputies then followed him north over Jefferson to Jay Scutti Boulevard into the parking lot of Kohl's Department store. They continued to track the bear into a brush lot behind the Kwik Fill gas station near the CSX railroad tracks.
Police tried to push the animal towards rangers who were armed with tranquilizer guns.
Around 10 a.m. the bear slipped by the officers traveling north over the railroad tracks towards the Brighton-Henrietta Townline Road.
"It's been interesting. Everyone's all scratched up and probably a few cases of poison ivy before we're done but that's what we do," Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lieutenant David Baker said.
A hunt, a search, a lookout, whatever you want to call it, it's definitely been a chase.
"This morning we had it trapped in a small piece of woods but unfortunately it escaped from where we had it trapped. It's not entered a large piece of woods which is a good thing," Lt. Baker said.
"He was just crossing over the railroad tracks as the sheriffs were pushing him away from the plaza," witness Chris Wojtowicz said.
Wojtowicz saw the furry creature Saturday morning while making a delivery in Henrietta.
"It didn't look like a big bear. It looked like a medium-sized bear. I've seen bears before and it wasn't a huge bear," Wojtowicz said.
The DEC says this black bear on the run has likely come from the Bristol Hills, Livingston County area. He's two-years-old and trying to establish his territory.
"This is not uncommon. It will probably be more common in Monroe County as the bear population moves north from the Pennsylvania border," Lt. Baker said.
"The bear goes in, you see, we have a little enticement, so he goes in, he pulls on that which takes the trigger, pulls it forward and that comes down and he's trapped in there," a DEC employee explained while he demonstrated how the bear trap operates.
DEC authorities laid the trap in Brighton, near Genesee Valley Park. This is the second day they've laid down the trap. They're hoping now that the bear is in an unpopulated area, they can safely catch the bear and release it in the Southern Tier.
At an average speed of 25 to 30 miles per hour, the DEC says small bears like the one on the loose can travel fast and far.
"The public is not in any danger because of the bear. In some ways we're very happy where it moved to because it is in a very unpopulated area," Lt. Baker said.
Coming one more step closer to his home.
Black Bear Population is Growing
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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation studies and tracks the black bear population in New York.
The department uses a tracking system to follow where the bears are moving and when. The department said the bear population is growing in the state. The bears have been moving north to more populated areas in the southern Finger Lakes, mainly because development has forced them to move.
If you come across a black bear, don’t approach it. Bears are usually afraid of humans and will not attack unless they are antagonized first.
Also, remove any food from outside your house, especially bird feeders. If you spot the bear, call 911.