Bear reported, but not found, in Ogle County

Sheriff still urges residents to take precautions

OREGON – Ogle County Sheriff’s personnel searched for, but didn’t find, a “good-sized” black bear that a resident reported seeing roaming in the western part of the county Monday evening.

“We checked the area and found nothing,” Sheriff Michael Harn said. “I’m not 100 percent sure it really was [a bear]. We haven’t had any other sightings.”

Harn said the woman called 911 shortly after 8 p.m. Monday to say she first saw the bear on the side of state Route 64 west of Mount Vernon Road. The caller said the bear ran into a nearby field.

A person near Rockford spotted a bear eating berries outside on Saturday. Early Sunday morning, Roscoe police spotted a bear, too. And the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said there had been sightings in Freeport and Stockton in recent days.

Harn said a bear was videotaped in the Roscoe area Tuesday.

“So it couldn’t have been that one,” he said.

The report of the bear sent campers at Rock River Christian Camp, 16486 state Route 64, inside for the evening.

Camp manager Dan Augustine said evening activities were moved indoors as a precaution after the woman reported seeing the bear about a quarter-mile east of the camp.

Augustine said about 100 people were at the camp at the time. The campers, who range in age from 10 to 16, were more excited than frightened, he said.

“My wife and I camp in Minnesota,” Augustine said. “There’s bears all over the place up there.”

He said he also patrolled the area after the sighting and saw no sign of a bear.

Harn advised residents in the area to take precautions, such as  closely supervising pets and small animals when they’re outside, taking down bird feeders, and not leaving any kind of food outside.