CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - Law enforcement officers are searching for a black bear in a large, densely wooded area near Harrison County Hospital and a shopping district in Corydon, IN.
James Schreck of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said the bear was first spotted about 9 p.m. Sunday in the Gethsemane neighborhood. Credible tips were received Monday morning indicating that the bear was in the woods. Conservation officers saw the bear themselves later in the day, but it quickly disappeared back into the woods.
The combination of the LMPD chopper assisting overhead and local law enforcement on the ground had neighbors a little stunned.
"Pretty hectic, a lot of cars up and down the street people stopping wanting to see the bear," neighbor Troy Willoughby said.
Conservation officers believe the bear might be the same one that was spotted in Hardin County, KY earlier in July and that it may have swam across the Ohio River from Kentucky into Harrison County.
"We do believe this bear possibly came from Kentucky, swam across the Ohio," Schreck said.
Bear sightings have also been reported recently in Meade and Hart Counties in Kentucky.
They hope to capture the bear humanely, but they might have to shoot it if it ventures closer to people. They are concerned because the bear is in a more populated area than it was during previous sightings. They also hope it is not shot by a civilian, but they urge the public to do what is necessary to stay safe.
The all-out-effort to catch the bear had the Harrison County Animal Control Officer threatening to quit over how the situation was being handled and it had neighbors on edge.
Schreck said he doesn't know what will be done with the bear if it is captured alive. Experts will be consulted to determine the best course of action, he said.
Conservation officers have issued a warning against leaving out food, which would attract the bear. They also advise residents to remove birdfeeders and to secure garbage inside.
Bears usually do not go after people, but as a precaution, the public is advised to watch children and pets closely when they are outdoors.
DNR officials are monitoring the bear and are hopeful it will wander away from the town.