Smarter Than Your Average Bear: Mercer Co. Community Has One Wild Day

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FARRELL, Pa. (KDKA) — Bear sightings have become fairly commonplace in western Pennsylvania, but this one was a bit more challenging.

This bear climbed a tree in Farrell, Mercer County, on Friday, and while it is down now, trapping it wasn’t easy for wildlife officials.

“The wife spotted him looking out the kitchen window, and he was over by the big tree in our side yard,” Farrell resident, Kenneth Russell, said.

Russell says he generally sees a deer or two in his neighborhood, but nothing like this. So he was intrigued when his wife called him over to look out the window this morning after she thought she saw a bear.

She was right. It was a young male black bear weighing in at about 149 pounds.

“Stood around about four minutes, then left the yard and come up here about a block away and went up a tree,” said Russell.

About 70 feet up an oak tree near the corner of Schilling Avenue and Stevenson Street. It was too high for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to tranquilize him. That kind of fall for this 150 pound bear could have been deadly.

So they shot rubber bullets, hoping to scare the bear down. At first, it just made him climb higher, but late this afternoon, it worked.

The bear finally got the hint, made his way down the tree, and took off running.

With the Game Commission in hot pursuit, the bear was finally cornered in a second tree. When he gave up on that one, conservation officers were able to hit it with a tranquilizing dart, which took effect on Woodland Avenue.

“A lot of homes and a lot of people. If this bear climbed a tree in the woods today, nobody would know, nobody would care, everybody leaves it alone, but it got nervous or scared with the commotion in town and climbed a tree in somebody’s yard,” Wildlife Conservation Officer Don Chaybin said. “So the problem was dealing with, more or less, crowd control and ensuring public safety. The bear itself doesn’t pose a problem or a threat, it’s just people management.”

The bear has been tagged, and once awake, he will be released into the wild, ending a wild day in Farrell.

“A lot of action this morning with the bear,” said Russell. “Everybody come out and looked to see where the bear was.”

He will be released at least 40 miles from where he was captured.

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