TN Officers Catch Bear In Knoxville

Knoxville News, Bear Hunting Magazine
06/09/2009

Authorities captured and killed a black bear that entered a West Knoxville womans home last week, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) official stated. The bear was caught after it was accidentally struck by a Knoxville Police Department car about two miles from the home it allegedly broke into last week.

We have every reason to believe it was the bear that entered the home, TWRA supervisor Brian Ripley said.

A couple walking their dogs last week surprised a bear that reacted in turn by breaking through the front glass door of a womans house. The bear eventually left the womans home, but TWRA set traps after the incident to capture the animal.

This weekend Knoxville officers received a report of an animal near Knoxville College and one of the officers accidentally backed into the animal while searching for it. The bear did not appear to be hurt by the impact.

Officers and TWRA officials eventually managed to corner the bear and tranquilize it with a dart. The bear was then placed in a trap, sedated and euthanized by gunshot, Ripley said.

The bear was between 3 and 3 1/2 years old and weighed about 150 pounds. It was a very healthy bear, he said. It was a bachelor bear that roamed, and thats what they do this time of year.

Ripley said the bears behavior indicated that it was accustomed to people and associated them with food. Weve got between 4,000 and 6,000 bears in this state, and most of them stay in the mountains where they belong, he said.

The public needs to realize that most of the bears we have in this state dont come into populated areas. Most bears try very hard to avoid populated areas.

Bear are getting more and more common here, he said. Its not an everyday occurrence, but its not totally unheard of, either. Again, these bears have become habituated around people, and they associate people with food.

According to Ripley, TWRAs policy is that bears that enter homes arent good candidates for relocation. Its similar to policies in most other states, and its almost identical to the National Park Service policy in Gatlinburg, he said. The fact that this bear was more afraid of dogs barking than of entering someones home, that means it thought it had a better chance with humans than it did with dogs.

Ripley said he is aware that many citizens disapprove of euthanizing bears like the one captured Saturday, but Ripley stressed that TWRA has to follow its policy.

In this kind of situation, were going to have a problem either way we go, he said. If we relocated it, tagged it and marked it, and then a year later it injures someone, then people are going to ask why we didnt destroy it. If we euthanize it, then we are accused of not caring about our animal resources here, and that is just not the case.



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