Bear bonanza: Sightings reported in three Mass. communities this morning

The bears are back in town. Just this morning, bears were sighted in three Bay State communities.

In Charlton, police responded to reports of a “huge black bear” rambling through back yards along South Charlton Shore Road, a police dispatcher said. By the time police responded to the call just before 6:45 a.m., the bear had fled into the woods toward Daniels Road.

Later, State Police and Environmental Police responded to reports of a black bear several miles away on the roadway on Interstate 84 East at Exit 3 B in Sturbridge. The police monitored the bear before shooing it into the woods around 9 a.m., State Police said.

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Then, roughly 15 miles away in Webster, a 400-pound black bear was reported roaming through neighborhoods near the French River just after 9:30 a.m. Police Chief Timothy Bent said it was the first time, to his knowledge, Webster police had confirmed reports of a bear.

Officers were able to keep the bear, who was wandering through thickly settled woods along North Main Street and Pearl Street, contained, and corraled him back toward the river before Environmental Police arrived on the scene, Bent said.

It’s not immediately clear whether the incidents were related, though the first two sightings were a considerable distance from Webster, according to Marion Larson, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Division of Fish and Wildlife.

The bears spotted were likely younger male bears, kicked out of the den by mothers looking to mate. The young males are now roaming to set up their own territories, which makes them more likely to be sighted by the public, Larson said.

This time last year, the errant Cape Cod bear wandered into Newton, prompting officials to capture and release the bear in western Massachusetts.

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