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Black bear and cub in Illinois

May 16, 2010 at 04:36 PM

TISKILWA — For at least the second time in as many years, a black bear has made an appearance in Bureau County - this time with a young one in tow.

The Bureau County Sheriff’s Department took a call about 10:30 a.m. Saturday from residents who reported spotting two bears. Deputy Sheriff Sherry Barto went to the location of the sighting, in a field near Tiskilwa, and saw what she believed to be a black bear and her cub moving into brush. She was not able to photograph the creatures.

Sightings of wild black bears have been almost non-existent from the 1850s to last year, when two different bears were spotted in Illinois. Click here to read a history of bears in Illinois.

In February 2009, a black bear was found hibernating in a drainage ditch near Neponset, roughly in the same area of the county. That bear was tranquilized and shipped to Woody’s Menagerie in Bond County. That animal had been spotted and photographed repeatedly in the county since the previous June. It was the first documented black bear found in the wild in Illinois in more than four decades.

In June of 2009 another black bear was seen repeatedly in JoDaviess County and also in northeast Iowa.

Illinois Conservation Police Officer Sgt. Robert Frazier, who help capture the black bear in Neponset, was more than a little surprised to hear of another bear sighting in Bureau County. But given that the sighting was confirmed by a sheriff’s deputy, and the location was so near where the bear was captured last year, he’s taking it seriously.

“We get these reports all the time. People see mountain lions. They see bears,” Frazier said. “And I’ve always halfway dismissed them. But then we find a mountain lion in Chicago. We find a bear in Bureau County. You can’t dismiss them.”

This is a potentially more serious situation than the lone bear that would have occasional sightings from residents for about eight months before being found asleep, Frazier said.

“If it’s a female and it’s got a baby, it’s possibly going to be more aggressive,” he said. “I would think her nurturing instinct would be to protect her cub. I wouldn’t be traipsing around in the woods looking for it.”

He also cautioned people to keep a healthy distance from the animals if people do encounter it and call the police immediately. At that point, if they can get a photo from a safe distance, that would help the Conservation Police determine the cub’s age, he said. They might try to approach an older cub differently than a newborn.

Neponset and Tiskilwa are about 18 miles apart. The proximity makes Frazier wonder whether the three bears weren’t kept on someone’s property.

“People sometimes take wild animals from the wild,” he said. “They think they’re cute, and then the darn thing gets bigger, does damage to the home, gets out, and it’s not such a good idea.

“If there is indeed a bear and a cub, the big question I have is, how did they get there?”

Illinois has no law on the books protecting bears because they’re generally not found anywhere in the state. That means, legally, the bears could be hunted as long as the hunter had the property owner’s permission and was in compliance with firearms laws.

But there are laws against keeping certain wild animals.

If anyone has information to anonymously share about wild animals being illegally kept, they can call the Conservation Police tip hotline at (877) 236-7529.

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

They need to leave this bear and her cub alone this time!

Posted by Marc Anthony on 05/16 at 05:01 PM

Illinois bone collector- It would be one thing if they sent it to a zoo. The last one they sent to Woodies menagerie in Mulberry Grove so that he could take it on the fair circuit. The animals are treated like damn circus animals.

They need to let any animal that was once native to Illinois stay if it returns.

Posted by illin on 05/16 at 08:24 PM

Maybe that pathetic baseball team in Chicago actually has a chance! We actually have cubs in Illinois! Well, maybe not.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/16 at 09:53 PM

Let Mama raise her cub if the land could support a few bears so be it. If there got to be too many then have a season. They got em in Wis. why not here?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 08:09 AM

The Illinois Farm Bureau should do what they do best. Demand immediate protection of these two bears.Allow the bears to reach a huntable population in Illinois, Then get the IDNR to only sell bear permits to Outfitters and their N/R clients. They’re probably already working on it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 10:23 AM

I think all attempts to stop bears from inhabiting Illinois should be deployed.  Here is why.

1. Decisions concerning wildlife seem to be made by special interest groups and not wildlife biologist in Illinois.

2. Should a sustainable population of bears exist; don’t expect a hunting season to be opened without a fight from anti hunting organizations.  Lets use the wolf reintroduction as a case in point.  The original plan was to have 30 packs of wolves totaling 300 across the Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming high density elk units.  Once that objective was met, attempts to open a hunting season to keep the population in check was met by multiple lawsuits from anti hunting organizations.  While these lawsuits were being fought; wolf populations have now reached between 3,000 and 5,000.  Elk populations are down as much as 80% from their highs in the mid nineties.

3. Any reintroduction of predators will have a negative impact on game populations.  Combine that with the loss of habitat, bad DNR decisions, and increased permits is a recipe for disaster.

I simply don’t trust today’s political environment to manage a resource such as black bears.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 01:41 PM

I would have a Wyoming moose tag this year if it weren’t for wolves.  They are wiping out the moose and quotas are dropping like rocks.  The joke of it is, they are invasive species!  Canadian grey wolves never lived in the USA!  Timber Wolves, which are 1/2 the size, were native.  As for bear, I don’t have an opinion one way or another.  I do however, feel it is inevitable some will get established here if the Wisconsin expansion continues.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 02:22 PM

I dont like this garbage of posting articles and then disabling the ability of people to leave posts. I am talking about the article on broadheads- fixed blade or mechanical. So lets start that debate on here.

I say all mechanical broadheads should be outlawed. That is a chance that doesnt need to be taken.



Oh yeah, leave the bears alone! Outlaw mechanical broadheads and forget about the bears!!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 04:08 PM

Settle down, Don. There’s no great conspiracy here.

Actually, the comment interface is enabled on that story. Something must be wrong with the post. I just checked again and can’t see what. But I did wonder why there were no comments.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 05/17 at 04:28 PM

Don, what are you referring to? The article is posted in two different locations and both have the ability to interact with comments. If you can’t post there, let me know!

Posted by Marc Anthony on 05/17 at 04:29 PM

Jeff, I just tried a test post on the front page article and it won’t take mine either! Something is wrong. The article in my blog works though.

Posted by Marc Anthony on 05/17 at 04:31 PM

Ah ha, all comments are being sent to Marc’s original blog entry. Guess I will take the story down and leave the discussion on that entry, instead. Never seen that before.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 05/17 at 04:31 PM

I think only your comment is going there because mine won’t even load on the front page. Maybe I’ll write another broadhead article and we can post it on the front page the first time!

Posted by Marc Anthony on 05/17 at 04:37 PM

It was inevitable that someone would bring up the wolves.  What I’m seeing is the deer herding up in the most difficult, steep terrain and they like to hang out around the larger, deeper water holes,as well as, along the river…where they have the escape advantage.
Frankly, I’m looking forward to seeing lots of deer during season.  I don’t sense that the wolves are having a catastrophic impact…not when you see 40 deer in less than an hour on less than 1 square mile.

As for the bear, they are welcome , too.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 05:19 PM

Bureau County again? I think the more reasonable evidence would be that someone in the Bureau County area had a couple of bears in captivity in the past few years, and they no longer have them. Unless there is some super secret bear tunnel from the surrounding states that have bears, and the tunnel opening is in Bureau County, three “Wild” bears migrating in and taking up residence in Bureau is unlikely. One of the border counties are more likely to have this happen, or a pattern of sightings from the border. But that has not been the case. This is not the first wave of illegal alien bears, we are not about to be overrun, and the deer herd is not about to get turned into bear scat.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 07:06 PM

Dear Mr. Marc Miller:
I spoke with you at the Duquoin State Fair last year regarding the Bureau County bear. You indicated that there are some things not even the director knows, but you would check where “Blackie” was transfered or placed. To date I have not heard back from you.  Now there is news of a momma bear and her cub in Bureau County and I was hoping the IDNR will now take an active role in this matter and see that the bears are kept in their natural habitat or relocated to some natural habitat and not lost in the system and not able to be located or their destination unknown. It is important for government to be forthcoming and public as well as responsive to the people. This is an Illinois bear no doubt and should be protected on behalf of the people of Illinois. To think that these bears may end up like “Blackie” and their ultimate location unknown to the state and it’s publilc officials is unthinkable.  I ask that IDNR be upfront and truthful regarding these bears and create a paper trail as well as news releases as to where they are ultimatley placed to give peace of mind to the citizens of Illinois that they not remain behind bars or placed in some circus atmosphere for public observation.  These are mighty creatures and deserve a life of freedom of their own without captivity.  If you have any updates on “Blackie” or these new bears, I would be pleased to hear from you and i’m sure that most of the people in the state of Illinois would also like full disclosure on these matters.  Leaving these bears in natural habitat in the state of Illinois might be a good option.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/17 at 08:14 PM

Colonel- If you look at a map the Illinois river cuts back south at Bureau County. A bear traveling south out of Wisconsin probably would hit the illinois river and have to go one of two ways. The last two have chosen to go west and the first decently hilly wooded area they come to is Bureau county. That is what I think is happening. I bet there are more of them in Illinois between the Rock and the Mississippi too but the area is not as open and they can hide better.

Posted by illin on 05/18 at 07:58 AM

A young bear was spotted in Union County a few summers ago. To my knowledge, it has not been spotted since.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 09:00 AM

I was born in 1944 and 10 years later I started hunting with my dad. At that time there was no white tail deer, coyotes or wild turkeys any where that I was aware of in Illinois. I realize the turkeys were reintroduced and the deer were protected but today all of them are all over the state so can wild animals return to Illinois? yup.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 10:39 AM

Isn’t that true for deer an turkey?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 08:01 PM

I think the bear could adapt fine. It’s the “people” who would have a hard time adapting.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 08:24 PM

Only two things coming out of Wisconsin we need to worry about.  Packer fans and wolves. 

Leave mama and junior be.  Save your bullets for the wolves. 

Man Il Archer/Zim…you get around.  No WY moose for me either…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/18 at 11:10 PM

Packers forever here…I would trade crooked ILL. politicians to Wis. for more Packer fans…..just leave the bears alone they will eventually get hit by a car then we will have to worry about “bear/ vehicle” collisions….....wink..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 06:41 AM

Bears are more adaptable than deer or turkey, for the simple fact that they are ominvore.  Just look at it this way ole mother nature gave them the ability to eat whatever food source is available. Unlike deer who are herbivore’s a bear can exploit more types of habitate including urban ones.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 10:45 AM

Oh yeah there is pleanty of bear habitate in the tiskilwa area, I know I hunt and fish in there.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 10:51 AM

Oh boy rwright…people are going to think I am picking on you all the time. smile  Bears are adaptable animals and there is plenty of suitable habitat in the state.  But - they are not more adaptable than turkey and deer. 

And animals can be less adaptable than other animals.  Polar bears would not do real well in the tiskilwa area (for example) and coyotes can thrive anywhere.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 11:21 AM

The point I was trying to make was: Everything a bear needs to “thrive” is available here. The only questions that remains is : Will humans allow them to thrive?” There are good arguments for both sides of that issue.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/19 at 12:40 PM

What do you base your Idea’s on, prove to me that deer and turkey are more adaptable and not that it’s not just an opinion.  I base my opinion that black bears are more adaptable on the fact that they can be found in many more types of habitat from the swamps of florida to far north and from the east coast to the west coast. Well except in Illinios most other states have them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 10:00 AM

Save your bullets for the wolves?

That’s short-sighted.  Around here, even if a pack were to take one deer a week we wouldn’t miss them.  And why not give up the late-winter doe season in exchange for a viable wolf population in habitat that will support them?

Oh, I forgot…the deer belong to us human hunters.  We should have the pleasure of killing them and we shouldn’t have to compete against a natural predator.  After all, that wouldn’t be fair.

It’s all about ME! ME! ME!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 10:32 AM

rwright - what habitats can bears thrive in that turkeys and whitetails can not? 

I agree - black bears are adaptable, but it is silly to say they are MORE adaptable than whitetails and turkey.

Hey Spooner - how did your deer winter down in that spoon river country? How is your pack of wolves getting along? 

Yes - Given a choice between wolves needlessly slaughtering deer and a late a/o season that humans can use to put meat in their freezer?  I will take the a/o season.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 09:19 PM

The wild animals that are making a come back are the ones that have adapted to a changing world for them. Coyotes are a prime example along with white tail deer.Some have been given a chance to gain a toe hold while others have managed to grow their numbers and move into areas where they were rarely found. The red fox has been nearly wiped out by the coyotes in central Illinois but now you will have a better chance of seeing one in town. They are adapting. Im sure the animals we see today have been successful of changing when they had to or we wouldnt be seeing them.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 10:36 PM

ajfranks> We found two carcass’s of pretty nice bucks still with antlers and one carry over from last year we didnt find last year. I found one nice buck carcass last year. I have no idea what is killing them because theres not much left after the coyotes get done.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/20 at 10:41 PM

AJ—the late winter season is crap and you know it.  Please find me a hunter who didn’t have a chance to kill a doe before the late season in Knox County.  That person probably does not exist.

And wolves needlessly slaughtering deer?  Oh, the deer!  The poor, poor deer!  Those rotten wolves are killing deer that were meant to be killed by humans!

Selfish and short-sighted…

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/23 at 09:49 AM

Outfitters have some thinking there’s a big buck hiding behind every tree.We counted 40 does in our back cornfield in Warren county last year and 4 bucks.I think the ratio of does to bucks is a result of antler hunting. The size of the antlers has a direct connection to the size of the man apparently.I would much rather SEE a big buck then kill one. The rut now extends deep into Janurary as the does that dont get bred come back in to estrus.I think that leads to winter kill bucks as they are run down so bad they find winter survival impossible.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/23 at 10:08 AM

Spoon?  Short sighted?  You are the short sighted one.  You want to bring wolves back to IL…why?  So you can have a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly, feel good about humanity and ease the guilt you feel?

You constantly remind us all: of the wonderful things you do for wildlife, that deer are too plentiful and then you admit that you do not agree with killing deer.  You brag about the folks that hunt your property and how they do not fill their tags and then you call deer maggots or fleas or whatever. 

The difference between you and me is I am comfortable with being part of nature and being at the top of the food chain.  Too many deer?  The answer is kill more female deer for humans to eat, not bring in wolves to make you feel better about yourself.

Bringing wolves back to IL so you can feel better about yourself is short sighted.  You want to live among the wolves, please sell your Shangri-La and move to: canada, alaska, mt, wy, id, wi, or mn.  Leave Il to those of us that can look into the future and see what it would be like with wolves in the state.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/23 at 08:33 PM

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