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Postby greenfishnut » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:40 am

Temperature: 59.5°F | Humidity: 96% | Pressure: 29.74in (Steady) | Conditions: Overcast | Wind Direction: East | Wind Speed: 6.0mph

June 24, 2014

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American black bear with pink salmon in its mouth. U.S. government photo. CLICK TO ENLARGE

This story originally ran the morning of June 24 in the Chronicle's Breaking News section.

(SULTAN, WA) -- It was at 4:15 pm Monday June 23 on U.S. Highway 2 east of Sultan that the dark prowler was spotted.

Local resident Lonn Turner saw him (or her) east of Sultan, just up the hill from the old Sultan Startup Road.

It was a good sized black bear, estimated at around 300 lbs.

This Ursus americanus as it is known to the crack zoologists at the Chronicle was spotted crossing the road to get down to the mighty and untamed Skykomish River, presumably to get a drink or do some fishing maybe.

Turner reminds residents of the sage advice to keep your trash cans covered and to watch your bird feeders and pets.

There's an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears that share our state with us and this fellow is one of them. Normally Ursus americanus avoids people.

However, if you startle one or startle one that happens to have a raging toothache that day, then all bets are off and you're probably in for a very unpleasant experience.

Meaning the bear will most likely get medieval on you.

It is during such times you'll appreciate having a good health insurance plan. If things go very badly, relatives will appreciate the fact you took the time to buy a good life insurance policy.

Should you come in close contact with a bear, the Washington State Dep't of Fish & Wildlife offers these tips.

1. Stay calm and avoid direct eye contact, which could elicit a charge. Try to stay upwind and identify yourself as a human by standing up, talking and waving your hands above your head.

2. Do not approach the bear, particularly if cubs are present. Give the bear plenty of room.

3. If you cannot safely move away from the bear, and the animal does not flee, try to scare it away by clapping your hands or yelling.

4. If the bear attacks, fight back aggressively. As a last resort, should the attack continue, protect yourself by curling into a ball or lying on the ground on your stomach and playing dead.

However there are times when none of the above advice works very well and the bear just gets medieval on you because it wants to.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife responds to cougar and bear sightings when there is a threat to public safety or property. If it is an emergency, dial 911.

If you encounter a cougar or black bear problem, and it is not an emergency, contact the nearest regional Department of Fish and Wildlife office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The main number is 360-902-2200 .
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