Wildlife Service Trap Catches Bear

September 14, 2023

DOWNIEVILLE - Last Wednesday afternoon, 9/6, the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Wildlife Service set a bear trap baited with sardines, bread slices, and marshmallows here on Pearl Street.

However, on Thursday morning, 9/7, only the marshmallows remained within a still-open cage. So, seeing how some wild creature - a fox, skunk, raccoon, or bear cub - weighing less than 100 pounds, the weight required to spring the trap’s door, had stopped by for a late-night snack and left without dessert, a Pearl Street resident (me) apprised the USDA trapper of the situation. Accordingly, the USDA’s trapper, George Alfonso, returned to Downieville from his base in Lassen County and restocked the trap with bait on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday morning, 9/8, all the bait was missing from the trap, and the trap’s gate had come down. However, whatever managed to engage the trap wasn’t inside the cage. So, Alfonso returned to Downieville for baiting and resetting the trap late on Friday morning.

At 8 p.m. on Friday evening, another resident of Pearl Street (Jim Roos) called Alfonso’s cell phone to tell him the trap had been sprung again without trapping anything. By 10 p.m., Alfonso was back on Pearl Street to repeat his morning’s work of resetting and baiting the trap. This time, however, Alfonso stayed on Pearl Street to monitor the situation.

Thus, at 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Alfonso was present when the gate to the trap fell and trapped a yearling, roughly 150-pound male bear.

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