That black bear which has made its presence in Scott County known for about the past week may still be with us.
Or it could have gone farther north.
First reported some three weeks ago as having been spotted in Harrison and Washington counties, the bear apparently wandered into southern Scott County at the end of last week. The animal reportedly swam the Ohio River from Kentucky into Harrison County. It was spotted around Pekin at one point early in its journey.
On Saturday, July 30, the local situation got pretty interesting when Clayton Brishaber was driving to work on Collins Road around 6 p.m. or so. The bear crossed the road in front of his vehicle, entering a yard from a soybean field. He snapped some shots of it from the safety of his vehicle and sent them to his in-laws, Kenny and Lori Spellman. They shared the photos with others. In no time at all, people started showing up in the area where Brishaber had first seen it.
When the Sheriff's Department was notified of the bear's appearance, two deputies, Rex Herald and James Shelton, went to the area, mainly to make sure people stayed away from the wild animal.
That was a little difficult for the officers to accomplish. Several people were seen driving up and down County Line Road and Collins Road, trying to catch a glimpse of an honest-to-gosh, wild black bear, the likes of which hasn't been seen in this county for many years, perhaps as much as a half-century.
Its movements on Saturday evening were tracked for a brief while. A drone with a camera was used without success in one attempt to discern if the bear was “...an anomaly (sighted) near a tree line...” at the eastern edge of a soybean field.
While all that was happening on County Line Rd., the bear was actually visiting the backyard of a house on Frontage Road for about an hour, it was learned later. As dusk fell, officers lost track of it, and sightseers finally gave up.
Some would-be trackers came back out late Sunday afternoon, July 31, but the bear wasn't seen again.
According to an Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) spokesman, the bear has since roamed further north.
“Keep your distance from it. Keep pets away from it. Don't feed it, and don't antagonize it,” advised that same spokesman when asked for information. He said officers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and IDNR are monitoring social media to track the bear's whereabouts.
Looking at Facebook, etc., has probably worked as well as anything for the time being. People have posted and re-posted photos of the bear, and there's rumors a bear was seen near Crothersville. That proved to be false.
“We aren't worried about the bear at this time. Everyone just needs to stay away from it,” the IDNR spokesman stated on Monday afternoon, August 1.