CENTRAL, LA (WAFB) - Central residents welcomed an unusual visitor to their homes late Wednesday night.
"That was pretty strange," Garland Maxwell said. "I absolutely never dreamed of seeing something like that in my yard."
Maxwell could not leave his house Wednesday night because the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) was attempting to tranquilize a Louisiana Black Bear, which had traveled at least 150 miles from its home in Winn Parish. Neighbors say the bear came from the woods behind the neighborhood before it moved down the street, climbed up a tree in Maxwell's yard, and went to sleep.
Law enforcement gave an "all clear" signal early Thursday morning once the bear had been sedated. LDWF says the bear was a docile adult male, between 5 and 10-years-old. The department released the bear on public land in northern Louisiana.
"It was just really scary, but it was really cool because it wasn't charging, but it was a really big bear," Kira Chapman said.
Chapman, 14, was playing outside when she noticed her dog barking at the bear. "I go with my dad to fish back in the woods," she said. "We usually bring a BB gun with us in case there are snakes, but now that I know there was a bear back there, I am iffy about doing that anymore."
One neighbor says she has lived in the same house in Carmel Acres for 45 years and never heard of a bear wandering around. Generally, bears stay away from cities like Baton Rouge. They are active in the lower Atchafalaya region, however.
Maxwell says he watched the bear trigger a motion sensor light in his back yard before sniffing around his fence. "I have a little dog that I take out out every night before I go to sleep, so I'm going to be a little more alert when I go out," he laughed.
LDWF recommends securing garbage to keep hungry animals away. They also remind you to clean the fat and grease that can attract bears off of outdoor cooking equipment. They also say to never approach or try to feed a bear.