WYOCENA — It balanced a front paw on the picture window while reaching for the red syrup in the humming bird feeder. The juvenile bandit left its prints at the scene on Bob Skare’s property early Tuesday morning.
“Bears are pretty smart and can do quite a bit of damage in the search for food,” said DNR Conservation Warden Paul Nadolski.
Juvenile black bears, about 100 to 125 pounds, have been spotted in Columbia County. The wild teenagers “can get in to a bit of trouble” during this time of year.
“Black bears in Wisconsin breed this time of year and it lasts about a month to a month and a half. The adult male bears will kill the young because they see them as competition, so the mama bear kicks them out for their own survival. It’s kind of the reason we see them coming down here,” Nadolski said.
On Skare’s well-groomed property on Pease Road the bear found a salad bar. Iron shepherd crooks that held bird seed and suet were bent to the ground. Thick flower pots were knocked over and a hefty stone bird bath was in two pieces with a chunk off the rim.
“It tore the humming bird feeder. You can see a nose mark and its paw up on the window,” Skare said. “We don’t know if it’s still in the woods here or not.”
For the next two to three weeks, Nadolski advises people to put any cat/dog food, garbage and bird feeders inside a closed garage.
“For the most part bears are very afraid of human beings, and it’s illegal to feed bears. It accustoms bears to associate that people are a food source and then someone can get hurt,” he said.
There were a couple of bear sightings over the weekend including at the Duck Creek Campground in Pardeeville.
“I called over there and told them they can have their bear back,” Skare said, with a laugh.
Ed and Jodi Steele spotted a black bear in their back yard Sunday night. They live a couple of miles west of Endeavor.
“Ed just looked out the picture window and did a double-take. It’s the first time we’ve ever seen one and we’ve been here 13 years,” Jodi said.
The roaming bear was about 15 yards from the house, Ed said, and at least 200 pounds.
Nadolski said it’s good for neighbors to inform each other of bears in the area and to be mindful of what entices the animals to ramble in to the yard.
Although the black bears are intimidating, they’re afraid of humans so make noise to scare them off, Nadolski said. Also, it’s not hunting season.
“There’s no reason for anybody to be shooting these bears unless they’ve got a part of your body in their mouth,” he said.
Officials are tracking the bears, but some can move six to eight miles a day, so it’s possible multiple sightings are the same animal.
If you see a bear, call wildlife biologist Sara Kehrli at 635-8123.