Unexpected visitor in Clintonville
By Erik Buchinger
Nancy Schley was in the living room of her Clintonville home when she heard commotion outside on her deck on a Sunday evening in June.
Schley initially thought raccoons or squirrels were on the porch, but when she walked to the window, it turned out to be a much larger animal.
“When I looked up, I saw the bear rolling around,” Schley said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is this?’ When he got up, he was getting into the birdfeeder on the upper deck. I went out the kitchen door to get close enough and far enough away to get a good picture. He looked at me, started walking toward me, and then went back to ripping the bird feeder apart. He didn’t seem like any threat.”
After snapping a few photos, Schley went back inside and locked the door.
“I made sure the deadbolt was locked because you never know,” Schley said. “Even though he was younger, you don’t know what they can do.”
The bear remained on the deck for about one hour but did not wreck anything besides the birdfeeder. It did get into the dumpster, which led to garbage scattered throughout the yard.
Schley moved the birdfeeder up on the deck earlier that afternoon because she thought squirrels or raccoons were getting into them.
“One time, the post was tipped over, so I had to redo that,” Schley said. “Now, I’m pretty sure it was that bear all along. I thought it would be safe there, but boy was I wrong.”
Schley said she has seen the bear a few more times since then including the next day when she was on the deck making a phone call.
“There he was walking around the yard,” Schley said. “He wasn’t spooked by us talking out there or anything.”
Schley said she occasionally becomes paranoid when she is outside not knowing if she will see the bear again.
“When I’m in the garden, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder because he’s been there a few times,” Schley said. “It is a little eerie knowing he’s there. It can be dangerous because I don’t know if he feels safe. Is he afraid of me? Is he dangerous? You don’t know.”
In hindsight, Schley said she is surprised she went outside that night to take photos of the bear.
“I can’t believe I went outside to actually take a picture of it, not knowing when it would do,” Schley said.
Schley recalled spotting a larger bear last year and thinks this one might be one of last year’s cubs.