UPDATE: The small village of Mount Morris is the center of attention after the infamous black bear that's been wandering the Stateline for weeks, camped out there Wednesday.
We finally spotted the black bear in person, drawing quite the attention. Dozens of cars pulled over on a property on Lowell Park Rd. to get a glimpse of a creature that doesn't typically roam these parts.
"We seen it come across this yard running and it climbed up a tree on (my son's) property and it stood up there for a while and then it came down and went over (to the other tree)," said Dwight Page.
The bear spent about five hours in that tree. It looked like it was napping part of the time but also watching people; watching and stretching its legs a bit.
"There's a little bit of a distance which is good on my part, I feel safer that way," said Mt. Morris resident Nency Gross, who stopped by to see the bear.
The Department of Natural Resources prefers we keep our distance. The DNR is not tranquilizing the bear, they're letting it wander home as long as it doesn't become a threat. Dwight Page says he's okay with that.
"It doesn't seem to be afraid of anyone and it's not hurting anything but it seems like it should be back to where its habitat is."
The DNR thinks the bear is trying to find its home.
UPDATE: MT. MORRIS (WIFR) – The black bear that sat in a tree in Mt. Morris for more than 5 hours today has finally come down. A neighbor tells us it ran off about an hour ago. The Department of Natural Resources believes this is the same bear that’s been wandering the Stateline for about a month. They’re asking us to stay away if we see it.
The bear was in the tree for at least 5 hours in between two properties on Lowell Park Road, southwest of town. It was spotted several other times early this morning closer to town. One man saw the bear scamper up the tree.
“I was up there on the patio and we saw it come across his yard running and it climbed up a tree on his property and it stood up there for a while. Then it came down and went over here to a neighbor’s farm and was just resting there.”
A lot of people stopped by to get a look at the bear, but DNR is moving people along. They don’t want cars stopping.
Neither the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department nor the DNR have plans to tranquilize the bear.
UPDATE: After early morning reports that the bear was spotted in Mt. Morris, the bear has been found in a tree in the 6000 block of Lowell Park Road in Ogle County.
The Ogle County Sheriff's Department is on the scene and has told our reporter Lauren Kravets that they have no plans to tranquilize the bear.
23 News reporter Lauren Kravets is on the scene and we will continue to update you as we learn more. For updates on social media from Lauren, you can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.
UPDATE: It's time to update our Bear Watch 2014 map because the DNR tells the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office the black bear has moved to Ogle County. He was last spotted in the middle of Friday afternoon in the Rochelle area.
Police say that on June 12 around 9:20 p.m. a citizen reported seeing the bear near the intersection of Rt. 64 and West Old State Rd just west of Sycamore. Nearly 2 hours later near the YMCA located on Bethany Rd. near Rt. 23, another citizen reported seeing the bear to police near the retention ponds at 11:08 p.m.
On June 13, around 6:30 a.m. the bear was reported in the area of Fairview Rd and Tower Rd just north of Interstate 88 in western DeKalb County. At 7:00 a.m., a DeKalb County Sheriff's Deputy located the bear resting under a tree near the intersection of Fairview Rd and West County Line Rd.
The Sheriff's Office reports that it is continuing to work with DNR on the location of the bear.
They remind citizens to not try to look for the bear or get close to it should they see it. It is also advised to keep children and pets inside and not set out food for the bear.
UPDATE: STATELINE (WIFR) -- The Department of Natural Resources says it's up to local municipalities to deal with the black bear roaming the Stateline. The department says next year a new law kicks in making the DNR solely responsible for managing the animals. Winnebago County Board member Ted Biondo says now is the time for he and his colleagues to create a new policy to get the animal out of our area.
"We need a policy in our county and other counties that if there is a bear sighting who goes to the scene and what do you use to tranquilize the bear," said Biondo.
DNR is still helping local agencies monitor the bear's path.
The first sighting was in Jo Daviess county last month. It's been running about DeKalb county today with a report that it was seen this morning in Genoa and then again in Sycamore.
STATELINE (WIFR) – Several viewers have submitted photos and videos of a black bear wandering throughout Boone County.
Garret Hawkins captured a video with his cell phone of what looks like the bear running along I-90 near Garden Prairie Road while working this morning. This is just one of several sighting of the black bear roaming around according to viewers. By the time authorities reach the scene, the bear is gone.
The same bear has been spotted traveling since last week starting in Stockton, then Freeport. On Saturday we received photos of the bear near a woman’s garage in Winnebago County then later that weekend in Roscoe.
On Monday, authorities confirmed calls of bear sightings in Caledonia and near a Christian camp in Ogle County.
Just this morning, viewers sent us videos of the bear moving along Shattuck Road and Belvidere with the latest being along I-90.
As we’ve reported earlier, experts recommend if you see a black bear, do not approach it. Instead, we should immediately call our county’s animal services department who will take further action.
Thanks to our viewers who are sending in photos and videos of the black bear sightings. They’ll be getting a 23 News Hat. You can send in your news tips by connecting with us on social media through http://www.likewifr.com or by emailing us your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: The Ogle County Sheriff's Department has joined the search for the wandering black bear.
Tonight 90 children at Rock River Christian Camp in Ogle County are sleeping indoors after a woman believes she may have spotted the bear going into the woods near the site.
Authorities say it may be the same bear seen in four other Stateline counties.
If we’re walking along a path in the woods and run into a bear, Peggy Doty says don’t be scared.
“Most likely, it’s going to jog off away from you.”
Doty works with the U of I Extension and spends time educating the public on wildlife. She tells us a black bear which has been seen in several parts of the Stateline is just looking for food and maybe a mate.
“I don’t know that they’re going to stay or go, but they definitely can’t reproduce until females appear so they’re just wandering around looking for easy food,” said Doty.
Doty says if you do happen to come across a black bear, perhaps the worst thing you can do is panic. The bear is just as scared as you are. What she says we should do is “get big” by making some noise and scaring the bear away.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources believes a black bear, seen in photos at a home in Rockford has been roaming the Stateline making appearances in Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and finally this morning, Boone County.
Black bears used to call northern Illinois home but were pushed out when the area turned more towards the agricultural industry in the 1870’s. Since 2009 there have only been about half a dozen sighting in the entire state and Doty says if we want them to leave again, we shouldn't’t be so welcoming.
“If you’re still feeding the birds, stop. If they were messing with your hummingbird feeder, the sugar water, take them inside for a while. Eliminate options for them.”
Of the bear sightings since 2009, they’ve been either in the Stateline or in Bureau county south of us. Doty says the black bear roaming our area is very likely a male and will probably leave once he notices there aren’t any females around.
Again, if we see a black bear, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department is asking us to leave them alone and call them for help.
UPDATE -- Police in Roscoe say the latest sighting was around 1am Sunday morning when someone spotted a black bear in the 400 block of Roscoe Road.
Police say that one could be the same black bear shown in these photos snapped on Saturday by Sheryl Hutchinson. She lives off Geddes Road in Rockford. Around 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, she called deputies after spotting a bear drinking from her hummingbird feeder and wandering around her deck. It also left a paw print on her garage about six feet off the ground. Hutchinson believes the bear is likely here because human interference pushed it out of its natural habitat.
“It means there is something wrong if the bear is coming down here trying to find a place to live because there is not enough habitat for it here,” says Sheryl Hutchinson. “There’s too much development and encroachment and the message a bear is giving us is “I need some space too’. We need to allow space for the wildlife and space for the people and not develop so much."
The University of Illinois Extension Office says black bears disappeared from Illinois in the 1870s. If you see a black bear around your home, stay away and call the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WIFR) -- It's not something we're used to seeing in the Midwest but today a black bear was spotted in Winnebago County.
This photo of the bear was taken by Sheryl Hutchinson. Deputies say she spotted the bear in her front yard this morning in the 2100 block of Geddes Rd., which is off North Main St., just south of Latham Rd. in Rockford.
Apparently the bear was eating berries from a bush. Deputies also found a paw print about six-feet high on the garage. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says there were sightings of a black bear in Freeport and Stockton over the past couple of days.
If you see the bear, you're asked to stay away and contact the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department at 815-319-6300.
Authorities are working on a plan to tranquilize the bear if it's located.