A young male black bear was spotted wandering around Lower Chanceford Township on Saturday.

Several residents called the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Shawn Musser, wildlife conservation officer, and Greg Graham, the southwest regional officer with the Game Commission, responded to the calls. They could not catch the bear and also experienced some equipment failures, said Richard Danley, law enforcement officer with the Game Commission.

Earlier it was reported that the bear had been captured, but Danley said that he mistakenly reported that information.

Danley said the bear could still be in York County, but since they have received no calls since Saturday it is likely that the bear has wandered off.

"It is not a situation for alarm," said Danley. "Obviously the public is concerned, and it can certainly be startling, but the reality is that bear attacks are so infrequent that people are more likely to get injured by a deer or motor vehicle accident than by a bear."

Common: Young bears commonly travel much farther during May, June and early July, he said.

"It's very typical, and I think every once in a while, every couple of years, there will be a young black bear sighting in York County," said Danley. "It can be a nightmare for the bear and for crowd control, but it is very typical."

The mother bear will push her offspring away when they are 2 to 3 years old, and the young male bears tend to wander far away in search of a new home and habitat, Danley said.


Pennsylvania has one of the largest bear populations in North America, said Danley. He estimated there are about 18,000 bears in the commonwealth.

Not only that, but black bears in Pennsylvania are much larger than in other areas, he said.

"If you go to other states with bears, like Maine, a large bear may be 200 or 300 pounds, but here we commonly have 400-, 500- or 600-pound bears," said Danley.

The speculation for the high number and large size of the bears in Pennsylvania is the habitat and availability of food, he said.

- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or cshank@yorkdispatch.com