Officers Use Doughnuts and Meat To Catch 260-Pound Black Bear in Downtown Pittsburgh

by Jennifer Shea

A crafty 260-pound black bear figured out how to break into a dumpster and steal bait from a humane trap twice before the Pennsylvania Game Commission ultimately managed to trap him Wednesday morning.

The adult male bear had been living in downtown Pittsburgh, the first time in recent memory that a black bear has actually made a home in the city, TribLive reports.

The bear had been staying on a wooded hillside above Bigelow Boulevard. There’s a patch of forest with lots of wild berries along Bigelow Boulevard starting just behind the parking lot of Energy Innovation Center, and the bear had been foraging and living his best life there.

Black Bear Raided Dumpsters, Then Hid

The bear was first sighted on Dec. 6 in the 5700 block of Penn Avenue, Douglas Bergman, a game commission warden covering Allegheny County, told TribLive. But soon thereafter, he disappeared.

The bear’s big mistake was busting into the dumpsters at the Energy Innovation Center and the nearby Boy Scouts building. The managers of the former figured out that someone was breaking into their dumpsters and set up video cameras to catch the bear.

The bear was apparently resting his weight on top of the dumpsters, bending the plastic lids inward until he could reach the garbage. The bear raided at least two dumpsters, then hid on a nearby wooded hillside, where he went unnoticed by the public.

“He couldn’t have gone further into the city than this,” Bergman said, standing in the midst of Pittsburgh.

Bear Went for the Doughnuts and Meat

Last Friday, Bergman put out a 10-foot-long steel cylinder trap. Then he baited it with doughnuts and meat.

On Friday and Saturday, the black bear managed to retrieve the bait from the trap without getting caught in it. So Bergman was forced to make some modifications to the trap.

Finally, late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, Bergman caught the bear in the humane trap. The furry fella was reportedly awake and relaxed there when Bergman went to check the trap.

At around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Bergman took the bear to Somerset County to release him.

Bergman told TribLive that while most of the bear’s ursine compatriots are hibernating by now, the bear had stayed out and about because the weather was so mild and there was food readily available in the area.