LINDON — It's common for deer and elk to come down the mountains to the outskirts of Lindon, but a few weeks ago a bear wandered several blocks into town, and residents are still talking about it.
"I was surprised," said Lindon resident Dara Card. "I thought that they wouldn't come down this far. We have deer all over the place, but we've never had a bear. It was a little unnerving."
The 250-pound adolescent black bear was spotted in a back yard in September.
"He started messing with some people's garbage and got into a garden spot, and that's when they contacted us," said Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore. "They heard some noise in their back yard and realized it wasn't the neighborhood dog."
The bear had wandered several blocks into one of the neighborhoods on the border of Lindon and Orem, Cullimore said.
"The thing that I was worried about was where the mother was," resident Jill McEwen said. "It was a baby bear and it was out wandering where the mother could be. We get a lot of deer, but never a bear," she said.
The bear dug through garbage cans, wandered through gardens and found a raspberry bush.
"They are doing what comes naturally to them when things become hard up in the mountains. They come down to the lower country," Cullimore said.
Officers from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources were called in. The bear was tranquilized and relocated. Cullimore said a snowy winter could make bear sightings more common.
"If we have a wet winter, so they have difficulty in snow and moving around, we may have more of those large game animals come down," Cullimore said. "The predators follow the game animals. It's very possible that we see more this winter than normal down in the neighborhoods."
He advised residents to give wild animals a wide berth and never approach, corner or catch them. The best approach is to keep an eye on it from a safe distance and to call the police with the location of the animal at 801-769-8600.
The bear wasn't the only big animal to come through a Lindon neighborhood in September. A bull moose also caused quite a stir.
Cullimore said wild animals such as skunks, raccoons, rattlesnakes, lizards, scorpions and tarantulas are an almost daily occurrence.
He said the natural environment in the area is great for people to use for recreational opportunities, but that was important to remember that large animals call the area home. "People need to remember that these are wild animals," he said. "They are not moving into our neighborhoods, we moved into theirs."
McEwen saw the bear in her neighbor's yard and hopes it won't happen again.
"I don't think we'll see too many more bears, I hope not, or cougars or anything like that," she said.