It wasn’t a lion or a tiger that made Daniel Schamper peek carefully out his window on Saturday, May 24. It was a bear.
“I saw a big black paw and I looked at him, and I first thought maybe it’s some kind of a dog; and then this didn’t exactly look like a dog to me. And finally, when I got down there, we decided it was a bear,” said Schamper.
Schamper and his wife were sitting down to breakfast when they first caught sight of the black bear snacking on their bird feeders at their home, just outside of Galena.
“He wasn’t afraid of us. We knocked on the window to distract him or get him on the road, and he would just turn and say, ‘Well, take your picture, I’ll be here,'” said Schamper’s wife, Nancy.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the bear was probably just wandering the area looking for a mate. Locals should take extra precaution to not attract them in the future.
“Not leaving pet food outside, cleaning up under bird feeders, securing garbage can lids and other things to keep animals from becoming habituated to people,” said Chris Young, Public Information Officer for the Illinois DNR.
Schamper isn’t too worried, he’s just happy they were able to watch the black bear from a safe distance, with a camera.
“Usually if you don’t bother them they don’t bother you,” Schamper said. “We haven’t heard of anyone that’s seen it, I think we’re the only ones. But I’m glad we have proof.”
If you see a black bear in your area, you can call the Illinois DNR at (815) 239-1152.