From Bozeman’s ‘Cops and Bears’ department

Bear sightings are expected in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, but they often prompt worried calls to “the authorities” in larger communities around the parks. In Bozeman recently, that has meant a rash of calls to the local police department, as documented by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and compiled by local blogger Tim Iacono.

Wildlife officials explain that as winter approaches, bears pack on the calories in preparation for hibernation, often making them more visible in areas they might otherwise avoid. Many of the Bozeman sightings have apparently involved black bears, described in police logs as “just chilling” or “hanging out.”

Striking a cautionary tone, Iacono wrote on Oct. 22 that “so far, these creatures have not interacted with the other group in town that regularly shows up in the police reports – late night drunks.” Which means the October newspaper clipping making the rounds online about Bozeman drunks yelling at bears in trees must be from the past — or perhaps it was sent back to the Internet from the future.

Fans of goofy police reports (but who might not be bear aficionados) should check out Bozeman blogger Zack Waterman’s recent compilations of mundane but amusing dispatches. Who can resist compelling accounts like just a few of the best from June 2011:

  • 911 dispatchers overheard a conversation involving “getting high and drunk and getting tattoos,” sitting on the beach, and eating shrimp and crab when an intoxicated man pocket dialed at 5 a.m.
  • A man said his ex-friend dumped sand outside his door.
  • The owner of two dogs was apologetic and agreed to pay to replace five chickens the dogs had killed.
  • A caller complained about “several hundred sheep being pastured in city limits.” The call was referred to the city planning department.
  • Police received several reports of aggressive door-to-door magazine salespeople.
  • A subject reported her backpack had been stolen. An investigation revealed that three people had hidden the bag in a locker as a joke.
  • A caller said someone threw “poo” all over his porch on Mactavish Lane.
  • A caller was concerned for the welfare of a mother duck and her ducklings in his yard on South 13th Avenue.

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