TROY - They're large, they're hungry, and they've been keeping the Pennsylvania Game Commission busy lately in the western part of Bradford County.

They're bears who have ventured into town - including one bruin that weighed in excess of 400 pounds.

"Bear complaints have been a steady occurrence thought out this spring in Western Bradford County," said Wildlife Conservation Officer Jeff Oleniacz, with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, District 5-08-1 in Bradford County.

During April, Oleniacz said, three bears were trapped at Tops Supermarket in Troy Borough.

"They had been constantly in and out of the dumpsters, and I personally witnessed their resistance to leave an area when confronted by a human," he said. "The bears that were trapped, with weight estimates, are a 425-pound male, a 110-pound yearling male, and a 220-pound female. After trapping the female, the complaints ended for the supermarket and the surrounding area." He said they were released in State Gamelands in Franklin Township.

Currently, complaints have been coming in from the Canton area, he added.

All bears that are trapped are tranquilized, given ear tags, and a tooth is taken to determine the age of the bear, Oleniacz noted.

"The Game Commission keeps records of all tagged bears and is able to provide that information to hunters who harvest a bear that had been tagged," he said.

"The majority of them (the complaints) stem from bears knocking over bird feeders, getting into household trash, and tipping over grills," he commented. "All these situations stem from a bears willingness to eat anything they come across. The easier the meal the more likely a bear is to stop by and take advantage of the situation."

"The majority of bear complaints can be handled by simply removing the food source that is drawing the bear in," Oleniacz advised. "Steps like taking bird feeders inside the house at night and not putting the garbage outside until the day of pickup often go a long way. That is easier said than done in some communities though, because if the person with the complaint takes those steps often times the neighbors do not and the bear will still stay in the area, just waiting for its next easy meal. Also intentional feeding of bears is against Pennsylvania State law and may result in a citation."

The Pennsylvania Game Commission does trap and relocate bears, but this is not an occurrence that takes place every time there is a complaint, he added.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5521; email: