Does a Bear Crap in the Dunellen Woods?

Yes he does – as surely as the pope is Catholic.

(07/04/12) DUNELLEN- Animal control officers and firefighters rescued a black bear cub from a tree in Dunellen, where it had been stuck all afternoon.

Witnesses say the 150-pound bear was seen running down New Market Road around noon, before it made its way up into the tree. Around 4 p.m., animal control shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart, and firefighters sent a ladder up to bring the bear down to safety.

Animal control says the bear will now be released into its natural habitat.

As it happens, I now reside on New Market Road with the lovely and ever-gracious Nicole in an apartment designed for anorexic Hobbits that, with the addition of two Rhodesian Ridgeback hounds (one of which can be used to give pony rides to children), makes me yearn for the spaciousness of a WW2 Balao-class submarine. But I digress.

There I was, on the way home from the storage locker where I had gone to retrieve my cavalry sabre and Continental Army officer regimental coat (I’ll explain in a subsequent post), when shortly before noon I passed by a police cruiser, several cops and a horde of locals all pointing their iPhones at a creek adjacent to a private residence.

Needless to say, my spider-sense tingled and after parking my car in the driveway I sauntered seventy-five yards or so to the area of the disturbance only to see the cops and the crowd suddenly move on, apparently in pursuit of…something, and I was reminded of a passage from an Oliver Goldsmith poem: “From all around the wondering town the wondering neighbors ran.”

“What’s going on?” I asked one of the wondering neighbors, who looked like she was in no physical condition to be running.

“It’s a bear on the loose,” she replied, before ducking into the air-conditioned comfort of a 2001-vintage Mercury Marquis sedan.

I immediately phoned Nicole, who was unimpressed. She urged me to quite dawdling and come home at once, as we were supposed to depart for Perth Amboy no later than 1:15.

Needless to say, I dawdled because, sure enough, it was a bear – in this case, a black bear cub and, judging from the shiny things attached to each ear, one that had been previously captured and tagged. I watched in complete fascination as it ambled from front yard to front yard until a phalanx of police and animal control officers slowly corralled it into a yard adjacent to the American Legion hall.

There, the critter immediately treed itself, remaining stuck in the branches until the authorities retrieved it several hours later – at which time Nicole and I were relaxing in the gracious home of Kurt and Donna Epps after a splendid Independence Day remembrance at the City Hall Circle in Perth Amboy.

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