Black bears were reported on the popular South Hill bluff trails Friday.
After receiving two calls, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Mike Sprecher responded and said it looked as though two bears, an adult bear and a younger bear, had been on the slopes between High Drive and Hangman Creek.
“The bears had headed down into the brushy creek and no problems were reported,” said Madonna Luers, department spokeswoman.
Comstock neighborhood resident Amie Whittle reported to the agency that she and her husband, Mike, “saw a fairly large black bear” heading down the bluffs between 37th Avenue and Bernard Street.
Mike Whittle said he and his wife were on the middle portion of the trails headed toward Qualchan Golf Course when they spotted the bear about 80 yards away on the slope above them.
“It was nice and round, very healthy looking,” he said. “We had our dogs, so we turned around immediately and got out of there as the bear loped down the slope sort of away from us. It wasn’t even really looking at us, so that’s a good thing.”
Whittle said he’s been hiking the bluff trails for 12 years and has seen deer, moose, coyotes, turkeys and other critters, but never a bear – until Friday.
Luers said the department planned no further action, but offered advice from Fish and Wildlife.
“The department recommends that people keep their dogs on leash – it’s the law, and a good idea considering that coyotes can be in the area anytime,” Luers said.
Bears step up their feeding in fall and can be easily lured by opportunities to find food, she said.
The best way to avoid having a problem with bears is to keep pet food and garbage indoors and stop feeding birds or keep the feeders in bear-proof positions, she said.
For more information, see the agency’s Living With Bears webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/living/bears.html.
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