Bear spotted in Eau Claire, neighbors intrigued, frightened by return from hibernation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - A western Eau Claire neighborhood has a new visitor who some want removed.

A bear caught the eyes of many who said they're afraid of what it might do.

The bear has been breaking birdfeeders and going through garbage cans here on Kenora Parkway for the past three weeks, and Department of Natural Resources said it's just part of spring.

“He's getting bigger every year; he seems to be less afraid every year,” Lowayne Rust who lives near where the bear has been seen said.

“Most people probably don't know he's down there,” Ernie Janota, who said he has been seeing bears in the area for the past three years.

“My wife grabbed the dog, she was afraid he'd get eaten,” Rust said.

Thousands of cars pass over its home every day. Neighbors say the sleeping giant woke about three weeks ago from his man-made cave, a culvert under Interstate 94.

“The bear's been coming out for every year for about three years right around spring,” Rust said.

Neighbors said the bear has been roaming about, rummaging through garbage and destroying bird feeders.

"You can almost set your clock by him, he comes every night about seven, and we'll watch him down in the woods here,” Rust said.

“One day he walked under our deck and stood up and put his paws on the railing and peeked at us through the bars in the deck.”

“Usually you just see him three, four, five, six hours out there just laying there sunning himself. You take a look at him, he just stands up and lays back down,” Janota said.

Ed Culhane with the D.N.R. said it's more common to see bears this time of year coming out of hibernation.

“I worry and we have a little granddaughter that comes to play and all the people around here have little kids and that kind of frightens me,” Rust said. “I don't want anything to happen to the bear, I certainly don't want them to come euthanize it, but I wouldn't mind if they moved him.”

Culhane said soon, bears will likely move into more natural habitats, and that they typically aren't removed unless they pose a danger, or remain later in the season.

“It's fun to watch him, but yeah it's kind of scary at the same time,” Rust said.

“Give him two weeks, he'll probably be gone and never see him again,” Janota said.

The D.N.R suggests removing food sources like birdfeeders and garbage dumpsters to keep bears away and not to bother or corner them.

For more information on bears in the area, go to