By Rob Potter
CALLICOON A male bear cub which climbed up a tree had residents, passing motorists and authorities busy for several hours on Monday in the Delaware River hamlet of Callicoon.
Early in the morning, the cub climbed up the tree near the intersection of Upper Main Street and New York State Route 97. He then decided to take nap while straddling the branches approximately 40 feet above the ground.
Just after 1 p.m., New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Biologist Matthew Merchant and Wildlife Technician Cory Stearns arrived on the scene.
After Merchant and Stearns discussed the best way to get the bear down from the tree in the safest manner for him, as well as the drivers and people looking on from a distance, with ECON Officers Scott Steingart and Ricky Wood and DEC Wildlife Technician Carl Lindsley, the call was made for the Callicoon Fire Department to bring its ladder truck just down the street to the location.
Lindsley carefully climbed up the ladder in order to shoot a dart filled with a tranquilizer into the bear. Once hit with the tranquilizer, the bear attempted to climb down from the tree.
After holding onto one branch for several seconds, he dropped safely into the net held by Callicoon FD members, Merchant, Stearns, Lindsley and New York State Trooper Troy Parucki.
Once safely on the ground, Merchant, Lindsley and Stearns proceeded to tag, measure and weigh the bear. They determined the cub was born in January of this year and that he had suffered an injury to his left hind leg, possibly from being accidently hit by a motor vehicle. The cub was 42 1/2 inches in length, had a girth of 26 inches and weighed 75 lbs.
The officials were concerned because the cub was in a precarious spot, being so high up in the tree and so close to Route 97 and Upper Main Street. Without all of the traffic and commotion, they surmised that he might have climbed down on his own during the evening.
“We were worried about him taking a big fall [to the street],” Merchant said.
Fortunately, the cub fell into the net.
Merchant said the tranquilizer would last about 45 minutes.
But Merchant added that he would then administer a reversal drug before releasing the cub, now sporting a bright orange No. 329 tag in his ear, somewhere in the area, “possibly on state land.