Wednesday, Dec 31, 2008
Black Bear Resurfaces Again East Of Neponset
Neponset, Ill. –
Bureau County’s elusive black bear has surfaced once again, and this time someone got pictures.
Sightings of a black bear were first reported in June near Sheffield. Then, on Sept. 5, Ron Miller of rural Neponset saw the bear along Kentville Road.
Last Saturday, as snow cover rapidly melted from rising temperatures and rain fell in the area, the bear was spotted about two miles east of Neponset on the Robert Bennett farm by his brother Lee Bennett, who was taking a ride on his four-wheeler in a field near the house.
After spotting the bear, which had gone to cover in underbrush, Bennett’s nephew Tim Bennett of Kewanee arrived and began to “shadow” the large animal after it became wary of the human presence and left the ravine. Tim, accompanied by his cousin Matt Bennett, shot photos of the animal as it lumbered across a field and across a creek that was swollen from the heavy rain and melting snow.
The black bear which has been reported in the Sheffield and Neponset area was captured on film last Saturday in the photos above, one of several taken by Tim Bennett as he and his cousin, Matt, followed the bear as if traveled across his father Bob Bennett’s farm east of Neponset.
“We got within 20 yards of the bear,” Tim said. Then it lumbered to an adjacent field.
The sighting on the Bennett farm was about three miles from where it was spotted in September by Miller. In June, the bear was seen in the Mautino State Fish & Wildlife Area, south of Sheffield, on the west edge of Sheffield near the railroad tacks, and near a landscape waste dumpsite on the west side of Sheffield.
Bennett said he has heard of several other sightings in the area including one recently by a trucker near the Macon Township maintenance shed on Route 40 south of Buda.
In September the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office said it would like any sightings of the black bear to be reported. Ultimately, authorities would like to tranquilize the bear and relocate it to a more suitable habitat.