HCSO Press Release
AVON PARK — A young black bear took a walking tour of the City of Charm Monday morning, July 17, venturing from the south end of town to the north before crossing U.S. 27 and disappearing into some orange groves west of U.S. 27.
The bear’s odyssey first came to official attention at 8:36 a.m., when it was reported at Joe Hilton Street and Memorial Drive. It ran off into some bushes and wasn’t visible when a deputy went to investigate.
An hour later, however, at 9:39 a.m., another call came in, this time about the bear being in a yard near Glenwood Avenue and Shaw Street. When deputies arrived, the bear was loping up Eddie Cannon Street towards Summit Avenue. It then turned north and crossed Main Street — nearly being hit by a car — before finally stopping for a rest behind the Chevron Station at U.S. 27 at Alton Street at around 10:15 a.m.
Deputies were concerned about the bear running into traffic on the highway and causing a crash. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers arrived as the bear was taking its break, but said due to its already-stressed state any effort to tranquilize the bear would likely kill it. The best option, they said, was to help it find its way into a safe habitat.
After a short rest in the shade of some oak trees, the bear ventured back toward the south, passing through the rear parking lot of the Olympic Restaurant and then into the front yard of Harbor Community Bank. FWC and deputies stopped traffic on the highway at a little after 11 a.m. and the bear was chased across U.S. 27 to the west, since that was toward the nearest safe area.
Eventually, the bear was guided toward a blueberry field at the west end of Pleasant Street, where it climbed the fence. It was seen a few minutes later (around 11:50 a.m.) crossing Taunton Road into an orange grove, where it likely found some shade and a place to hide until nightfall. The bear’s trek through town covered a little over two miles.