State Nuisance Bear Team on Standby After Black Bear Sighting

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The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Nuisance Bear Team is on standby as a wild black bear was still on the loose Thursday.

There were several reports and picture taken of a black bear roaming a field near the Tyson Headquarters in Springdale on Wednesday (Sept. 4).

After authorities scaled down the search later that night, police said they received a 911 call from a person saying they struck a bear or a large dog with their car.

“Just a sighting of a bear definitely doesn’t warrant me coming out and trapping or tranquilizing an animal,” said Nuisance Bear Team Coordinator for Region 7 which covers eleven counties in the state.

If bears are causing problems in populated areas Melson’s job is to trap the bear or tranquilize it with a dart gun, and then tag it.

“It’s much like a paintball gun that shoots a 3cc dart which I place in the back of here and it`s extremely accurate,” said Melson.

In this region, red tags are placed on a bear's ear if it’s a nuisance, to keep record of its whereabouts and if it’s causing problems.

It’s a three strike your out policy, if a bear is tagged a third time they’re relocated.

“Predominately in the Ozark National Forest where there`s very little population where the bear density is fairly high anyway, away from habitation.  We’ll take it away as far as we can from where it’s causing a problem,” added Melson.

The bear spotted in Springdale reportedly had a red tag on its year, said Melson

Black bears are scared of humans and are not typically known to attack people or other animals, according to Melson.

“I’ve only seen one time in 10 years that a bear attacked a dog and that occurred when the bear go into the dog pen going after the dog food, the dogs jumped on the bear and the bear was protecting itself,” said Melson.

Bear sightings aren't uncommon in Arkansas.  The state has a large population of black bears, numbering more than 4,000.

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