While other shop classes around the country are constructing sheds and serving trays, the students at Pennsylvania’s Dover Area High School are building a bear trap. A large one.

It all began last summer when a young male black bear wandered into York, Pennsylvania. Residents were predictably not pleased by the bear’s antics as it overturned birdbaths and plundered mailboxes. Game Commission officers were called in, and lacking a bear trap of their own, they captured the young bear with a borrowed trap from a nearby county.

Although bears were not typically common in York County, young males have been sighted increasingly as they separate from their mothers. This adolescent period often combines a mixture of curiosity and inexperience that causes bears to move closer to humans than they normally would.

In an interview with Outdoor Hub, Game Commission Supervisor Richard Danley stated, “bears are not very prevalent in York, but when they appear they can generate a fuss.”

After last summer’s incident, York County’s Game Commission recognized a need for a trap of their own. A new bear trap can be expensive however, costing upwards of $4,000, and many of the existing traps used by game agencies were built decades ago. That’s when Dover Area High School’s Ronald Weaner stepped up to the plate and said maybe he could help.

Weaner is an avid hunter and on the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. He also teaches a welding class at the school. When his class was given a choice on what they would be covering for the semester, the students decided to construct a bear trap nearly from scratch.

The bear trap will be a culvert style trap made from aluminum tubing mounted on a trailer frame. Bait will be placed inside, luring the bear in, where it will step on a pressure plate and the spring activated door will slam shut behind it. This is safe and practical for all parties involved, and only slightly inconvenient for the bear.

Danley expects the trap to be in its finishing stages soon, and would like to thank the students for their service to the community.

Image from Cory Doctorow (gruntzooki) on the flickr Creative Commons

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