Bear visits McAlester neighborhood

Wednesday, May 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ A bear that wandered into a McAlester neighborhood may have been looking for a place of his own.

Residents spotted the black bear Tuesday afternoon in a residential area on the city's east side.

The bear appeared to be full grown and stood 3- to 4-feet tall on four legs, said Larry Case, who arrived home around 2:30 p.m. to find the bear lazily galloping between two houses to nearby woods.

``I'd never seen a bear before in the wild,'' Case said.

McAlester is about the westernmost point wildlife officials say they find black bears. Two have been removed from the area in recent years, said Joe Hemphill, regional supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Oklahoma has a growing population of bears, he said.

Bears are nocturnal so it is rare to see them in the daytime. Many times the bears that are seen are young males looking for a territory of their own, he said.