Black Bear Plays Tug-of-War With Wildlife Researcher; Stumbles Toward Researchers

The wild encounter was caught on camera as scientists were examining potential impacts to animal habitat from a proposed wind farm

Wildlife researchers studying black bears in southern Vermont had a surprising encounter with an animal and caught it on camera.

Biologists with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and students from the University of Vermont were recently on a field project in Searsburg, in the southern part of the state.

They were looking into whether a proposed wind farm in the Green Mountain National Forest would affect the animals’ habitat.

A Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist said the researchers needed to check a radio collar worn by a sleeping bear, but discovered when they arrived to the animal’s location that he had just woken up.

The video shows a male bear appearing to grab a backpack from a researcher and pull it into his den, then engaging in a brief tug-of-war with the man.

The bear then suddenly emerges from its den, toward the field researcher, and tries to get away.

The animal stumbles down a hill, perhaps because he was stiff and groggy from his winter slumber, the department said.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department said the team was able to safely tranquilize the bear and complete their work.

The department said there were no injuries to the animal or the humans involved in the study.

The multi-year research project into bear habitat is ongoing.

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