Imagine a massive 620-pound male black bear. Now imagine that same animal tearing through your shed to get at some tasty garbage. This was what one Florida resident found at his home near Ocala National Forest when the large bear began to claw away aluminum siding in its quest for a smelly treat.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife biologist Mike Orlando, the same bear had been causing problems around the neighborhood, tipping over trash cans and generally eating whatever is available.
“So we went ahead and captured it,” Orlando told OutdoorHub. “Sometimes capturing one is enough of a deterrent to keep some bears from messing around and doing it again. Not always, but they’re just trying to find food.”
Orlando stressed that the bear did not display aggression towards humans. Bears that attack pets or people are usually euthanized. Instead, wildlife officials sedated the bear, gave it a health exam and ear tag, and then carted him off to be relocated elsewhere. This specimen was unique in that it was the largest black bear to be caught alive in Florida history, only four pounds below the state’s all-time record, which had been hit and killed in an automobile accident years ago.
“We knew it was a really large bear just from looking at it obviously,” Orlando said. “After we got done working him up we went and found a scale, we only carried 500 pound scales with us and we knew from handling other bears he weighed more than that. So we drove up to a scale and weighed the bear inside the trap, drove out, released him, and weighed the trap with him outside. Turns out he weighed 620 pounds.”
Video of the bear’s release can be seen below:
Ocala National Forest is home to roughly 1,000 black bears, nearly a third of Florida’s overall population. Black bears have been recorded to grow well over 800 pounds, but no such monsters have been documented in Florida.
Image courtesy Mike Orlando/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission