Bears Wandering South

By: Natalie Swaby
By: Natalie Swaby

In Wisconsin, student Julie Crowe of Eau Claire, track bears.

"Mostly I've been involved in the more mapping aspect. I've only seen them be tranquilized once, this is my second time," tells Crowe.

She witnessed a mother bear be tranquilized so a research team could take a closer look at her cub.

In the Northern Wisconsin brush, bear sightings are nothing new, but a recent snap shot, taken in one Poynette resident's back yard, definitely came as a surprise.

"We are getting quite a few sightings in Richland County, some in Sauk and Iowa County, and even a few in Western Dane County," rattles off Bill Ishmael, a wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

People camping out and enjoying the outdoors at Spring Green's Tower Hill State Park are surprised to learn bears might be lurking in the brush.

"I did not know that there were bears around here, but I did see a bear paw print," says Boy Scout leader, Kevin Dole.

"Hopefully, we won't see any tonight," adds camper, J.R. Dunn.

Keeping the lid on your garbage shut, that's just one of the many things you can do to keep the bears away.

"Trying to keep bird feeders up out of the reach of bears, and making sure garbage cans and compact bins are protected with lids on are helpful so bears don't get accustomed to coming back," advises Ishmael who has seen a bear up close.

"We caught a bear just a few miles south of here in 1995, and put a radio collar on that animal and followed it into its winter den," he says.

Through his studies he has found that the animals are usually not a threat as long as you don't bother them.

"Leave them alone, stay at a safe distance. Bears are generally pretty timid animals, and they are going to go the other way," says Ishmael.

Some tips for people -- don't feed the bears. In fact it is a good idea to clean outdoor garbage cans with ammonia so bears will stay away. Also keep barbecues clean and pet food out of the bears reach.

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