KINGSTON — A nearly 300-pound black bear wandered into town Monday morning and caused quite a stir.
The bear, a male, walked down Dorrance Street and settled into a tree outside PNC Bank on the corner of Union Street and Wyoming Avenue, according to Kingston Police Sgt. Sam Blaski. The call came into police at 6:48 a.m., who then closed a section of Wyoming Avenue to vehicular traffic and kept spectators away until the animal was tranquilized.
It took awhile for the anesthetic to relax the bear and cause it to slump in the tree.
Kevin Wenner, a biologist with the state Game Commission Northeast Region, used a board to loosen the bear’s back feet from the tree, which caused the large animal to fall onto the grass with a thud.
The bear should not have suffered any injuries from the fall, based on its size and the effect of the anesthetic, Wenner said.
Once the state Game Commission officials confirmed the bear was asleep, a crew lifted the animal and placed it in a tube-shaped bear trap.
William Williams, the information and education supervisor for the commission’s Northeast Region, said the bear would be taken to the Dallas Township Game Commission office, where it will be weighed, tagged and have its age determined. It then will be relocated to State Game Lands 57 or 13, near Ricketts Glen State Park, which spans Columbia, Luzerne and Sullivan counties.
“State Game Lands 57 and 13 are good for bears,” Williams said. “There is plenty of food for them; blackberries are in season.”
But a sighting in town doesn’t happen every day.
“They (bears) drift into town every so often,” Williams said.
Christian Bodnar said he walked to the scene from work to catch a glimpse of the treed bear.
“I never heard of a bear in a tree in a busy area like this,” he said.
Lori Heatherman of Luzerne said the bear did not surprise her.
“It is not uncommon,” she said. “There was one by the tech school in Pringle (West Side Career and Technology Center) a few years ago, and about 18 years ago there was one by the train tracks in Kingston.”