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Young bear creates commotion in Hagerstown

May 26, 2010|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Authorities spent much of Wednesday tracking a young black bear that was sighted Wednesday morning near North Hagerstown High School.

There also were reports of the bear being seen in other neighborhoods in the city's North End.

Kelly Bell said her husband, John, saw the bear at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday outside their home at 801 Forest Drive.

"He ate the heck out of my bird feeders," she said.

When he spotted the bear, John Bell went back inside to call 911.

Kelly Bell said she went upstairs and out to her four-tier deck off the back of their house. She saw the bear standing on the deck's ground level, she said.

Kelly Bell, who is 5 feet 4 inches tall, said her husband estimated the bear was taller than she is and weighed more than 100 pounds.

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"If he was a baby," she said, "he was a big baby."

Harry Spiker, a bear biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said DNR received several reports of bear sightings in the area Tuesday night.

The bear is probably a 75- to 140-pound yearling that set out on its own, Spiker said.

"It's common for yearlings to be thrown out by their mothers," he said. "It's just a teenager trying to make its way into the world."

Spiker said people should make a lot of noise and not corner a bear if they see one.

"They're not an aggressive animal, especially at that yearling age," he said. "Give it a lot of space and a lot of respect ... It's better to let the bear move on on its own."

Spiker said a DNR agent was in the area monitoring the bear's progress.

Authorities from the Hagerstown Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police were looking for the bear Wednesday afternoon near the woods off Marshall Street.

Staff writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.

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