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Beaver Dam fire department sets up 'bear hunt' for safe outdoor activity
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Beaver Dam fire department sets up 'bear hunt' for safe outdoor activity

Bear

Lucky the Bear hanging outside the Beaver Dam Fire Department on Wednesday. The fire department has set up a bear scavenger hunt around Beaver Dam as a safe way for children to get outside during the coronavirus lockdown.

Activity encourages families to

get outside

CHRIS HIGGINS

chiggins@wiscnews.com

Bear hunting season has arrived in Beaver Dam and no license is needed.

Emergency responders in the Beaver Dam Fire Department have organized an effort to display bears, of the stuffed variety, around town to encourage families to safely enjoy the outdoors during the “stay-at-home” order aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers has issued a directive for residents to stay inside and limit non-essential travel, though people are allowed to exercise outside as long as they remain six feet apart from others who don’t live in the same household. Playgrounds are closed and group sports are banned.

Jeremy DuCharme, firefighter and paramedic, said he was looking for a popular preschooler “bear hunt” song for his daughter when he came across a similar activity in another community. Several towns and cities are setting up teddy bear and rainbow scavenger hunts for kids who are otherwise stuck at home. Responders on shift later decided to set up a hunt in Beaver Dam.

“We thought it would be a really good gesture to get kids out and about,” DuCharme said. He said he hopes it will be a way for people to still be able to go outside and get some fresh air.

The fire department’s own shamrock bear and junior firefighter, Lucky, will be placed at different locations around the fire department and municipal building, 205 S. Lincoln. Ave., that can be seen from the sidewalk or road. There will be a hint about where he is every day on the Beaver Dam Professional Firefighters Local 3432 Facebook page. On Wednesday, Lucky was on a bell outside the fire department facing Henry Street.

Other residents are encouraged to post bears they find and reach out on Facebook if they would like to participate. There are already about a dozen bears around Beaver Dam hiding in windows and on porches. The bears should be hidden in areas visible from the street or sidewalk so people can hunt safely. Some Beanie Babies were hanging out in a window down the street from Lucky on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping it grows and grows until you can’t go down the sidewalk without seeing a bear,” DuCharme said.

The Beaver Dam Police Department has set up Facebook live readings for children with officers. The Beaver Dam Community Library remains closed and set up a series of virtual programming.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

Follow Chris Higgins on Twitter @chris_higgins_ or contact him at 920-356-6751 and chiggins@wiscnews.com.

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