Black bear caught in Eau Claire after roaming neighborhood for weeks

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - Weeks after he was first spotted, the Department of Natural Resources removed an unwanted guest from an Eau Claire neighborhood.

"People don't usually have bears living in their back yard," Carter Fridlund said.

But he and his family did. For the past month, a black bear has been lounging in their yard, breaking birdfeeders, while living in a culvert near Kenora Parkway in west Eau Claire.

"Every day we look out, there he is,” Kelly Fridlund said.

“He had a special spot where he liked to lay, like his resting spot every day,” Carter Fridlund said.

But concerned about the danger, their new ‘friend’ who they named ‘Pat’ could bring, Kelly Fridlund kept a closer eye on her kids, and limited their time outside.

“My kids were fearful of the bear as I was and they wanted to make sure that we got into the car before opening the garage door, just in case,” Kelly said.

“I really wanted to play outside a lot,” Carter said.

“When we were running someone called us to tell us to go home because they saw the bear,” Tricia Thatcher, who lives nearby, said.

Those fears all ended this week. The D.N.R. didn't remove him initially, but the agency trapped the animal after he stuck around for several weeks.

“It was like a cylinder garbage can, a little longer, when he walked to the end of it, and started eating the food, it set off the trap to shut the door,” Kelly said.

Now, the neighborhood can rest a little easier, knowing ‘Pat’ was taken about 60 miles north and released into the wild, far away from their backyards.

“I'm glad that it's hopefully in a safe place and able to live peacefully,” Thatcher said.

“I wish it could have stayed a little longer, I liked watching him,” Carter said.

Other neighbors have said they've seen more bears in the past, and Kelly said she expects Pat to one day return.


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