Bear Sightings in Wrightstown, One Captured in Doylestown

The captured bear was first spotted Wednesday evening during a boys baseball game in Doylestown.


Several local towns have had reports of black bear sightings over the past few days.

Newtown Township Police on Wednesday responded to four calls about roaming black bears in Wrightstown, according to a report published on Phillyburbs.com. The bears were reportedly spotted on Atkinson Lane, Second Street Pike, Ridge Avenue and Brownsburg Road near Crest Road.

Then, later that day in Doylestown, a regular evening of baseball was interrupted by an unexpected visitor -- a black bear.

"All of a sudden, someone screams out, 'Look! Bear!,'" said Anne Drouin-Hasegawa, who was at the game. "It was a surreal thing. You look up and see a bear next to an SUV. It kind of blows your mind."

Drouin-Hasegawa had gone to the game to watch her 12-year-old son, Max, play ball at Veterans Memorial Park in Maplewood. She hadn't expected to get an up close and personal lesson in suburban wildlife.

The fans spotted the large black bear near the cars at the ball field. Several in the crowd instantly whipped out their cell phones and called the police, Drouin-Hasegawa said.

The bear ambled off before the police arrived, Drouin-Hasegawa said. It was in no hurry and was not acting aggressive in any way, she said Thursday.

"He was very Winnie-the-Pooh-like in his behavior," she said. "He had that slow, lumbering look to him. He was pretty gorgeous."

After a few minutes, the ballgame resumed. But the bear drama wasn't over.

The large black bear shuffled further into the Doylestown Maplewood section, a tidy neighborhood of middle-class homes built after World War II with streets named for Doylestown boys who had died in the war.

As the bear moved, so did the news of its journey.

"I was trying to finish a job, but instead, I kept running from window to window, to see where the bear was," said Doylestown illustrator Pat Achilles, whose home overlooks the ball fields.

When the Doylestown Borough police arrived, the bear was on Stryker Avenue. Police Chief Jim Donnelly said Thursday that two officers followed the bear and were able to herd it to the yard at 686 Stryker Ave.

There, the bear hid between a shed and fence, Donnelly said. The police kept it at bay until representatives from the Pennsylvania Game Commission arrived.

Around 9:30 p.m., Rick Macklen and another game commission representative tranquilized the bear and took it away, Donnelly said.

On Thursday, a spokesman at the Game Commission's southeast office in Reading said the bear was taken "to another location" and released.

Bear sightings around Pennsylvania and even Bucks County are not uncommon, especially in the more rural parts of townships.

In fact, a second bear was spotted Thursday morning around Lenape Middle School, said Doylestown Township Police Chief Dean Logan. "Then we believe it made its way over toward Sandy Ridge," Logan said. "It looked like it was heading toward the (Pine Run) reservoir."

Logan said his officers would keep an eye on the bear as long as possible and call the game commission if they thought it could be tranquilized and removed.

Phillyburbs.com is reporting sightings in Solebury and Buckingham townships as well.

Pennsylvania's black bear population has grown substantially from around 4,000 in the 1970s to about 14,000 today, according to the state game commission. The animals now can be found living in 55 counties.

"Continued expansion of residential development into areas occupied by black bears and wandering young adult bears in search of a place to settle have resulted in more frequent sightings and encounters between people and bears," according to a recent report from the game commission on research into black bears in the suburbs.


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