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Bear pays a visit to town of Hudson home

Vickie Walsh took this photo of a large black bear as it ambled away from her home on Charlie Ryan Road in the town of Hudson. (Submitted photo)

Vickie Walsh was having a conversation with her daughter at their town of Hudson home the morning of June 20 when she noticed what she thought was a big black dog next to the deck.

Concerned over the whereabouts of her very small dog, Walsh stood up to get a better view, and realized it was a large black bear next to her house.

The bear ambled slowly across the lawn.

When it was at what Walsh thought was a safe distance, she went onto the deck to take a photo, but the bear turned around and looked at her, sending Walsh back inside.

“It’s a little unnerving,” she said in a phone call.

Finally, when the bear had reached their neighbor’s driveway on Charlie Ryan Road, Walsh took some photos, which she shared with the Star-Observer.

“He crossed our yard just very, very slowly. So I didn’t go out there right away,” she said. “I would have loved to have gotten a picture of him close up, but I wasn’t doing that.”

She’s no expert, Walsh said, but it looked like a pretty big bear to her.

Walsh reported the sighting to the newspaper because of the boldness of the bear, and to warn others in the neighborhood know about it.

Charlie Ryan Road is near the eastern town line, north of the former Girl Scout camp.

Walsh submitted a large mammal report on the sighting to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“The best thing people can do is to remove the sources of food that would attract a bear,” said Jane Wiedenhoeft, an assistant carnivore biologist at the DNR’s Park Falls office, who took the report.

“Normally, if a bear comes back and doesn’t find food, it isn’t likely to continue coming back,” Wiedenhoeft said.

The Walshes don’t have birdfeeders or pet food outside, but are aware of people in the neighborhood who feed deer.

Paul Sickman, the DNR conservation warden for St. Croix County, said he hasn’t noticed an increase in the local bear population, but there are bears in the area and it isn’t uncommon to see them.

“Always consider bears to be wild,” Sickman advised and repeated Wiedenhoeft’s instructions to remove outdoor food sources if a bear has been spotted near your home.

“It is up to the homeowner if their pets and/or children should be allowed outside (after a sighting),” Sickman said in an email to the Star-Observer. “Ideally, you should notify your neighbors and have them remove any outside food sources, too.”

Sickman’s advice for anyone who encounters a bear is to make noise to make their presence known, and calmly leave the area.

He said that a bear that killed two goats near Woodville was trapped and euthanized two weeks ago by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.

The DNR contracts with USDA Wildlife Services for the removal of nuisance bears.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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