Powering Strong Communities

Traverse City Light & Power Lineworkers Help to Rescue Bear from Tree

Lineworkers from Michigan public power utility Traverse City Light & Power recently helped to rescue a bear from a tree by successfully working with a city biologist to tranquilize the bear and bring it safely down from the tree.

Daren Dixon, Operations Manager for Traverse City Light & Power, told Public Power Current that reports came in of a black bear roaming streets of Traverse City’s Central Neighborhood on the morning of May 14. City police responded to the reports and the bear wound up climbing a tree.

Along with the police, officials from the city’s Department of Natural Resources Department and firefighters were onsite.

Dixon received a call that morning indicating that the Traverse City streets department needed help from the utility and asking for the utility to bring a bucket truck to get a DNR biologist closer to the bear to tranquilize it.

photo courtesy of Traverse City Power & Light

Traverse City Light & Power Lead Lineman Josh Patzer and Apprentice Lineman James Johnson responded with a bucket truck. 

“We used the bucket to bring the biologist up closer to the bear. The biologist had to use four darts to tranquilize the bear, who was fighting the sleep due to noise from the crowd and surrounding areas,” Dixon said.

Mattresses were borrowed from a neighbor, a county commissioner, to put under where the bear was falling asleep, he noted.

Johnson and a biologist then tried get the bear down from the tree. “The apprentice wanted to put a running bow on the bear, but the biologist indicated that he was concerned about going around the bear’s chest for breathing purposes,” Dixon noted.

With the line around the animal’s abdomen, the biologist and Johnson dislodged the animal’s paw from the tree and the bear fell from about 30 feet but landed on the mattresses.

The DNR loaded the bear into a specialized cylindrical holding crate and relocated the bear about 60 miles away from the city.