Black Bear Ventures into Downtown Athol, Mass., Gets Euthanized

A black bear caused a stir Thursday morning in the Worcester County city of Athol. The bear ventured into downtown, and ended up in a tree near the office of the Athol Daily News. Jared Robinson is a staff reporter with the paper. He says he watched as police eventually succeeded in tranquilizing the bear, causing it to fall from the tree unharmed. But the bear was later euthenized. Robinson says that’s a state policy for black bears that are tranquilized so close to hunting season, which opens November 4th.

“The chemicals in the tranquilizer dart that they use could be fatal to humans if we ingested the meat from this bear,” says Robinson. “So with hunting season right around the corner, if the bear was let out into the wild, and a hunter shot it for consumption, there could be dire consequences that way.”

Robinson says relocating the bear was not an option, as both Vermont and New Hampshire are in the middle of their hunting seasons. He says bear sightings are fairly common at this time of year, but never in Athol’s downtown.