A young black bear spotted near Dillsburg had a rough morning, as his mother apparently kicked him out of the den before he ambled into the area and was greeted with foot pursuit and a flying garbage can.
Pennsylvania Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said the young male, no more than 150 pounds, was first spotted around 9:30 Thursday morning when a motorist on Route 15 south of Dillsburg reported seeing the bear roaming the Range End Golf Club.
Others then reported seeing him in Pheasant Ridge housing development and a nearby trailer park south of Route 194, Lau said.
The bear had brief and apparently unpleasant interactions with at least three people near Dillsburg, as a couple of men ran after the bear and a woman "saw it and threw a garbage can at it," Lau said.
Two Game Commission officers were dispatched, ready with tranquilizers and a bear trap so they could relocate the bear to a more natural habitat, but they gave up the search after a few hours, he said.
York County isn't typically home to bears, though they live in Cumberland County and other northern areas.
Lau said mothers send their young male offspring to find new ranges this time of year, and the young bear probably got lost and didn't realize the forest ended.
"Mom gives them a signal to get out of town," he said. "It's sort of nature's way of making sure the gene pool is balanced."
Lau said the bear might have returned to the forest by now, but residents probably shouldn't repeat today's action if he or another bear visits.
It's generally ill-advised to chase or run around bears because they can perceive that as a threat, he said.
"If a bear is right in front of you, the best thing is to back out slowly and avoid making eye contact," Lau said.
And how about throwing a garbage can?
"I would think the answer would be 'No, you shouldn't,'" he said.
People can also call the Game Commission at 814-643-1831.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.