A large black bear that annoyed residents in Northern Indiana last summer has been spotted again a short distance further north, in Michigan.
“Well my dog was inside and she just raised all kinds of Cain. I mean, jumping and barking,” said Shirley Wharton.
Wharton's dogs went crazy around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning. She ignored the ruckus, but hours later she found her bird feeder on the ground and empty.
A trail-cam next door had caught pictures of the black bear responsible.
“I've never seen it, but I'd like to. I think it would be sort of fun,” Wharton said.
Wharton lives on the south end of the Grand Mere State Park, about 90 miles from Chicago. On the north end, Mike Kinney discovered the bear on his deck a few nights earlier.
“He was standing right here, full stand, pulling that suet feeder down,” Kinney said.
Terry Enders lives right next door.
“The bear was over at the neighbor’s house three different times. Tore up the bird feeders, got up on the deck, pulled down some suet feeders for the birds, and literally had everybody a little bit scared,” Enders said.
Michigan DNR officials believe it’s the same bear that surprised residents in Michigan City, Indiana last summer. It’s a 200 pound, 2-year-old male. Traps were set, but the bear escaped. Now, he's 3 years old and even bigger.
Wildlife experts say most male bears are at the height of their sexual prowess around the age of three, and that this young male is probably wandering the woods looking for a companion.
Residents living near the park are being cautious.
It's possible the bear spent this past winter hibernating in or near the state park. Conservation experts say if that's true, it's the first time that's happened since the Civil War.
One conservationist says the bear's recent movements suggest he is heading south, so don't be surprised if he crosses into Indiana soon.