BEAR WATCH: Lumberjack rescues black bear in Rice Lake - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

BEAR WATCH: Lumberjack rescues black bear in Rice Lake


Rice Lake (WQOW) - A black bear took a much needed breath of fresh air after getting its head stuck in an unusual spot. We first showed you the video out of Rice Lake last night. Garrett smith was working on his own moving logs when he noticed the bear. He quickly came to its rescue using a piece of logging equipment. He put the video online Sunday, and it has already received more than 400,000 views.

"That pivot there, he was just passed it on a little knoll," said Garrett Smith from Rice Lake.

The corn was shorter just north of Rice Lake two weeks ago. That helped local lumberjack garret smith see something strange.

"A bear will usually stand up and look around if they're going to be out in a cornfield, and this one wasn't doing it," said Smith.

The black bear smith saw had its head stuck in an old fashioned milk can. He immediately called the farm's owner Dennis West.

"We knew we needed to take care of him quick, because it was a hot day, humid, and I knew he wasn't in good shape because he kept messing around with it and trying to get it off," Smith said.

Smith fired up his forwarder, a machine he uses to move and stack tree trunks. After a bit of trouble, the bear was set free.

"I couldn't believe when he actually popped out you know? Its just like he slipped right out of it. I know it was something you wouldn't have got by hand more than likely, I think he was swelled up," said Smith.

Smith says he's glad they were able to rescue the bear, but he wasn't worried that the wild animal would turn against him.

"I figured when we got him loose, he wasn't going to stick around to shake hands. So we weren't too worried," said Smith.

As you can see in the video, the animal does end up swinging around a bit before being freed. We did ask the USDA wildlife services office about that. They told us that the maneuver could have broken the bear's neck. But they also say it was a tough situation because had the bear gone back into the woods, it may not have been noticed by anyone in time to be saved.

The USDA said it is best to alert local authorities in these types of cases. They can get in touch with the proper wildlife officials who can help.


Rice Lake (WQOW) -
A black bear is running free thanks to the help of a Rice Lake lumberjack and his logging machinery.

Garrett Smith was working in a wooded area next to a corn field in Rice Lake when he spotted a bear with an old milk can stuck on its head.

Garrett told WQOW News 18 the day it happened was very hot and humid and he knew the bear couldn't stay stuck in there for very long without being injured. So, he got permission from the landowner to drive through the field and went to work trying to get the can off with his skidder.

It took a couple tries, but it worked! And with as fast as the bear runs away, it looks like it was pretty happy to be out of there. 
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