Hello there, bear

Din­ers at a Marsh­field pub en­couter a sur­prise guest out­side their win­dow.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Front Page - Mitchell A. Skurzewski

MARSH­FIELD – Maybe it was look­ing for an ice-cold drink. Per­haps it was hun­gry for a Wis­con­sin Cran­berry Salmon salad or a Tree Hug­ger sand­wich.

But a black bear that wan­dered past the Blue Heron BrewPub in Marsh­field on Thurs­day night caused quite a stir for those in­side the restau­rant, lo­cated at 108 W. Ninth St., and those who read about it on so­cial me­dia.

Jen­nifer Ben­son of Wausau and her friend, Amy Ryan, had just or­dered their din­ners at the BrewPub when they looked out the win­dow and no­ticed the black bear wan­der­ing past.

“He wasn’t in a hurry and just looked like he was on a stroll,” Ben­son said in an email to a USA TO­DAY NET­WORK Wis­con­sin ed­i­tor. She was able to get a cou­ple pho­tos as the sur­prise guest walked by.

Ben­son said once other restau­rant pa­trons no­ticed the bear, it seemed to get spooked and ran down the road.

“He was never threat­en­ing or ag­i­tated, just walk­ing,” she said.

It didn’t take long for one of Ben­son’s pho­tos to ap­pear on sev­eral Face­book pages and groups, and those who com­mented were quick to share some light­hearted rea­sons for the visit.

“Yikes! Must be hun­gry. … Or wants wine from the pub,” two com­menters joked.

“It smells the cheese curds,” said an­other.

“Hope he hasn’t been drink­ing,” one woman wrote.

Ben­son said she and Ryan were eat­ing din­ner at the BrewPub be­fore at­tend­ing a Jerry Sch­mitt Band con­cert at the Lu­Cille Tack Cen­ter for the Arts in Spencer.

“It was the last thing we ex­pected to see in down­town Marsh­field,” she said, “but it def­i­nitely made our night more ex­cit­ing.”

Black bear pop­u­la­tions are thriv­ing in Wis­con­sin, ac­cord­ing to Wis­con­sin De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources re­ports. And, sight­ings are not un­heard of within city lim­its.

In May 2017, DNR of­fi­cials used a trap to catch and re­lo­cate a bear that had been fre­quent­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas on Marsh­field’s north side.

That same month, a black bear drew at­ten­tion in Wis­con­sin Rapids when it climbed into a tree along a busy road­way. Af­ter more than 12 hours in its pine perch, the bear climbed down and left on its own.

A black bear also vis­ited the Aspirus Wausau Hos­pi­tal cam­pus in April 2016, and even­tu­ally wan­dered into a wooded area.

There are about 28,700 black bears in Wis­con­sin, ac­cord­ing to the DNR web­site. A to­tal of 12,970 hun­ters were awarded per­mits for the 2018 bear hunt­ing sea­son in Wis­con­sin, which ended in Oc­to­ber.

Wis­con­sin bear hun­ters har­vested 4,159 bears dur­ing the 2017 sea­son, or 83.2% of the statewide quota of 5,000 bears. The DNR Bear Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee es­tab­lished a quota of 4,550 bears for the 2018 sea­son.


A photo by Jen­nifer Ben­son of a black bear out­side The Blue Heron BrewPub on Thurs­day night in Marsh­field.

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