Opinions vary on black bear question

PARKERSBURG- Opinions on what local authorities should have done to the black bear that was wandering in the Jackson Avenue area vary from they should have made efforts to use a tranquilizers to they did the right thing.

Kay James of Parkersburg said she did not agree with the decision to shoot the bear.

“I think they could have tranquilized him and taken him off somewhere,” she said Thursday. “It wasn’t being dangerous. I heard it was within 10 feet of one lady and did not even look at her.”

Mary Ann Murray of Cutler, Ohio, said she had mixed feelings.

“With so many people around you never know what a wild animal will do,” she said. “I’ve heard they usually don’t attack unless the cubs are nearby.”

Paul Snyder of Parkersburg said the tranquilizer would have been a better idea if it was available.

“If there was a tranquilizer gun close by to get it quickly and not endanger anyone it would have been better,” he said. “If it was a she bear there could be a cub somewhere; it’s about the time of the year when they will have their cubs.”

Harold Marshall of Vienna thought more should have been done to try to subdue the animal before authorities used lethal force. However, with the people around the situation could have changed quickly.

“I do think they should have tried to tranquilize it before they killed it,” he said. ”They said there was a lot of people around. I don’t know. I think they really should have tried to tranquilize the bear first and tried to move it before deciding to kill it.”

Ray Linch of Vienna said people have been talking about the situation and what could have been done.

”I heard a lot of people talking today,” he said. ”They didn’t like it and wanted it tranquilized. However, with kids around there wasn’t much choice.”

Ethelene Linch of Vienna said authorities made the right call.

”They did exactly what they were suppose to do,” she said.

If the bear had turned, went after someone and hurt them she believed people would be complaining now about authorities not taking action when they had the chance.

”You can’t please everyone,” she said.

Sheila Sarver of Parkersburg believed it was a matter of safety for the public that authorities had to kill the bear.

”Truthfully, I think they did what they needed to do,” she said. ”The bear could have killed pets, children and people.”

Sarver said the bear was out of its element and posed a real danger to the community as its temperament could have changed quickly.

”It is a shame the bear had to die, but it left its community and came into ours,” she said. ”I think they did what they had to do.”

Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford said she believes officials made the right decision in killing the animal.

“They really didn’t have any choice in what to do,” Ford said. “If that happened in our town, I’m sure we would do the same thing for the safety of our community.”

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp said public safety is the number one priority in any situation and the death of the bear was necessary in this instance.

“Bears are unpredictable and can turn at any moment,” Rapp said. “It is an unfortunate circumstance, but the bear had to be put down for the safety of the people.”

Jeff McCrady, Division of Natural Resources wildlife biologist for District 6, said he took the bear’s body to a friend who is a taxidermist in order to properly skin the bear to answer some questions he had.

The bear was very fat, which was unusual because many springtime bears are usually thin following their hibernation period, McCrady said.

”There was more fat than you would expect,” he said. ”We don’t know why. We were really looking for clues. It was a fact-finding mission.”

Officials were looking for any indications the bear was kept in captivity somewhere as well as other indicators. Skinning it would tell them if the animal had suffered injuries through contusions on the body and give insight as to what might have caused them, officials said.

Their preliminary examination did not result in definite answers.

”It was odd to me that this bear was that fat,” McCrady said. ”I was curious so we decided to take a closer look.”

There are no plans to stuff or mount the bear, McCrady said.

The DNR has the pelt in one of its freezers.

”It was a beautiful pelt,” McCrady said. ”I hated the thought of it going to waste.”

There are no current plans for the pelt.