On Mother’s Day this past weekend, a 350-plus pound black bear climbed high into a street-side maple tree in a Traverse City, Michigan, neighborhood where it was deemed “stuck” and ultimately “rescued” via four shots in the butt with a tranquilizer gun and a nice 20-foot fall to earth.
As area residents gathered round to watch and point, officials from the Department of Natural Resources arrived to deal with the unfortunate bear, along with help from Traverse City Light and Power. “They showed up with a bucket truck. At that point, they were able to lift me up in the bucket to get pretty close to the bear, to make a very, you know, safe and reliable shot with the dart gun,” DNR Wildlife Biologist, Steve Griffith told 9&10 News.
It took four darts to get the bruin good and knocked out, and then, as the team tried to secure the unconscious animal with ropes to lower it gently, the bruin slipped free and fell 20 feet or so to the ground. Which, if we are honest, is the best part of the video, which you can watch here. It was a soft landing thanks to someone who’d apparently guessed that the bear-roping part of the rescue might go FUBAR and put down a bunch of nice cushy mattresses. What better place for a sleeping bear to land? (In fact, I wouldn’t mind being tranquilized and dropped onto a bed of mattresses right now.)
According to the report, the bear was checked out (I wouldn’t want to be checked out, though), deemed fine, and released on state land roughly 60 miles away, according to 9&10’s report.
It seems worth pointing out that in these situations the bears in question are always described as being “stuck” in the tree. But I doubt that the bears think they’re stuck. If every bear in a tree was “stuck” there, then the canopy of the big woods (where they don’t have bucket trucks) would be strewn with the carcasses of lodged bruins, and I feel like that’s something we hunters would definitely notice. On the other hand, if people in neighborhoods didn’t think they were stuck, we wouldn’t get to watch videos like the one from 9&10—not to mention the absolute best bear-falling-from-a-tree video ever:
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