Bear Mauling News-Bears are back in town
Closest bears to Chicago in Illinois
The Chicago Bears aka the Decatur Staley’s were not named for the bears that once roamed the Illinois prairies. Settlers and ranchers pushed the indigenous bears out a long time ago. Yet now, in a town named for a former railroad pioneer, the bears are encroaching upon Sheffield Illinois.
Sheffield is not located in the southern part of the state where it is sufficiently wild to accommodate zoo-free bears. It is more in the prairie farmlands southwest of Chicago..
Well, I hope that the locals are kind to them, and that the farmers leave a few ears of corn in the field for their winter time. I hope that their fence rows feature trees and bushes to support game through the harsh winter.
Welcome back, bears.
“Black bear in Illinois?
July 03, 2008 at 10:03 AM
BY TAMMY WILKINSON
More bear stories
It wasn’t a lion, nor was it a tiger, but three separate sightings of a bear near Sheffield last week have the local residents sighing “Oh my!”
Randy Hasbrook, lieutenant investigator for the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed that the local sheriff’s department received three “confirmed” sightings of a black bear last Thursday wandering on the west edge of Sheffield.
Hasbrook said the first account came from Tim Ries, owner of the Sheffield and Wyoming Plumbing and Hardware stores.
Ries reportedly sighted the black bear on the north side of the railroad tracks west of the Routes 34 and 6 junction west of Sheffield.
Hasbrook said Ries saw the bear standing on its back feet as if scouting out the area.
Another sighting was reported by David Behrens of rural Geneseo, who was was on a fishing trip with his son southwest of Sheffield near the Mautino State Fish and Wildlife Area.
Hasbrook said his son mistakenly thought the bear was a large dog and pointed the animal out to his father. Behrens realized it was a bear.
Hasbrook said the bear is estimated between 250-300 pounds.
The third sighting on was by Sheffield resident Robert Feurer.
Authorities said Feurer saw the bear as it wandered near the village landscape waste dumpsite on the west side of Sheffield.
Hasbrook said authorities are taking all three reports seriously and consider them legitimate.
“Although it’s a rare occurence, it doesn’t really surprise me either,” said Hasbrook. “There are bears living in the nearby states of Missouri, Kentucky and Wisconsin.”
Hasbrook said an abundant food supply including berries, grass, roots, insects and occasionally fish are readily available in the area and could easily satisfy the bear’s appetitite.
“Good food, and water from the nearby Coal Creek and the strip mine area, are all good resources for a bear of this type,” he said.
Hasbrook said the recent flooding and changes in the weather prompted a bear to migrate here.
He said the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been informed of the bear sightings.
As of Tuesday, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office had not received any additonal reports regarding the bear.
Hasbrook said his biggest concern is that no one makes an attempt to approach or hurt the bear.
“Chances are the bear is probably more scared of us than we are of it,” he said.
If necessary, he said, authorities would tranquilize the bear and relocate it.
Anyone who sees the bear should contact the Bureau County Sheriff’s Department, (815) 875-3344 .
“We just don’t want to see anyone get hurt — including the bear — due to any unfortunate circumstances,” Hasbrook said.”