Bear capture in Shelton turns into a neighborhood event

Robin Marketto was among the Shelton residents who got a good look at the bear in her neighborhood, before it was tranquilized and taken away on Thursday night.

“The bear was in that tree,” said Marketto, pointing toward a big tree on Prospect Avenue near Myrtle Street at about 7:45 p.m.

By this time, the bear had moved a few hundred feet away, climbing a different tree in the back yard of a house on nearby Bodyk Place.

The waiting game

Marketto said she believed state environmental conservation (EnCon) officers had already hit the bear with tranquilizer pellets, and now were waiting for the tranquilizer to impact the bear.

That moment came about 10 minutes later.

The bear fell from a tree in the yard, a location that wasn’t very visible to the public due to surrounding tree cover, sheds and fences. Encon and Shelton police officers were standing around the tree at that time.

“It was way up high,” said Dave Warren, who also lives in the neighborhood.

So high — an estimated 30 or 40 feet, according to some onlookers — that when the bear fell due to the tranquilizer, it made a loud noise.

‘Licking its chops’

Two or three dozen people had gathered on the road to monitor the situation, and many worried the bear might have died from the fall. But that wasn’t the case.

“The bear was breathing and even licking its chops, and some paws were moving,” said Jack Finn, a Shelton alderman who was able to get close to the bear’s location after it fell from the tree.

Soon, as the impact of the tranquilizer increased, EnCon and Shelton police officers carried the tranquilized bear to a waiting pickup truck, where it was driven away to be placed in a more rural location in Connecticut.

Bear wasn’t rattled

Sue Hanrahan lives on Prospect Avenue, directly across the street from the roadside tree where the bear had hung out for awhile before heading to the nearby yard.

Hanrahan came home and found police cars, officers and people near her house. While she may have been startled at first, all the hubbub didn’t seem to bother the bear in the tree.

“He didn’t seem to be rattled,” she said. “He wasn’t moving. He didn’t seem interested in anything.”

Jason Hoefflinger, who lives in the Pine Rock neighborhood, was at the scene to see what was going to happen with the bear.

He’d spotted the bear for the first time the day before, and had been informally tracking its location since then.

“After seeing him today, he’s not a threat to anyone,” Hoefflinger said.
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Click below to see photos of the captured bear in the pickup truck:
Bodyk Place, Prospect Avenue and Myrtle Street are in the southern edge of downtown Shelton. The location is just south of Route 8 and near Kneen Street, and only a few blocks from Shelton City Hall.

'He seemed friendly’

Dave Warren had seen the bear in the neighborhood earlier that day. “He was just walking around,” Warren said. “He seemed friendly, and wasn’t bothering anyone, just walking through all these yards.”

Warren called the situation “kind of cool,” while Hoefflinger described it as “awesome.”

Majid Malik lives on Bodyk Place, across the street from where the bear was captured and carried away. He also came home from work and wondered what all the commotion was about — with people gathered in the road and police cars parked at various locations.
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Click below to see photos of the bear being captured:
Malik said his wife had been told earlier in the day that the bear had been spotted nearby.

He later saw the bear climbing in his neighbor’s tree, as did their son, Mohammad Malik. “It was medium-sized — not too big, not too small,” Mohammad said of the bear.

Possibly weighed 110 pounds

Finn said he was told the bear was shot three times with tranquilizer, and initial indications were that it weighed about 110 pounds, was about one-and-a-half years old, and was female.

(The presumption had been that the bear was male, since young male bears tend to venture out on their own in the spring, when they are about 12 to 15 months old.)

Finn said the bear had a bald spot in the rear, indicating it was the same bear seen multiple times along the Route 8 corridor in Shelton during the past few weeks. The bald spot appears to be an open wound or gash.