Bear runs up tree, startles locals in Oregon town

SISTERS — A black bear ran up a tree in this central Oregon town before authorities coaxed the animal down with cantaloupe and barbecue sauce as more than 100 people watched.

Craig Derksen, a teacher from Singapore visiting Oregon, was sitting under a tree reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" when someone screamed "Bear!"

Sure enough, the black bear ran by him and up the tree in the middle of downtown Sisters.

"He was headed straight toward me, literally he was running so fast I realized I didn't have time to move, so I decided to stay still," Derksen told The Bulletin newspaper of Bend. "He came within 10 feet of me and headed right up the tree I was sitting under. It was quite something."

The bear moved to a second tree, where tried to coax him down with food. The bear climbed down, but passed up the food.

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies followed the bear as he lumbered through neighborhoods before heading out of town late Wednesday afternoon.

Steve George, the wildlife biologist who led the effort to capture the animal, said it's likely the bear was kicked out of its own territory by a bigger, stronger bear, and came into Sisters looking for a new home. George said the bear shares the same distinctive light coloration as a bear photographed last week at Camp Polk, and is likely the same animal.

George said animal control officials debated shooting the bear with a tranquilizer dart, but decided against it.

Bears tend to climb higher when struck with a dart, and this animal was about half-way up the 60-foot-tall tree. As a result, authorities determined their net was insufficient to support a tranquilized bear falling out of a tree from a great height.

Capt. Tim Edwards of the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office said there's no indication the bear is dangerous.

"He's a pretty docile bear," Edwards said. "We think he was the one seen earlier in the week being chased by a deer, so he's not a very ferocious bear."

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