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Hole in one: Bear lured off links at Greensburg golf course with doughnuts

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 12:03 a.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
A black bear comes to after being tranquilized by the Pennsylvania Game Commission after being trapped at Mt. Odin Golf Course on Tuesday, July 9, 2013.

A bear's sweet tooth cut short his jaunt on the links Tuesday at the Mt. Odin Golf Course in Greensburg.

A Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer used doughnuts to lure the surprise visitor into a trap at the recreation area. As the bear was sedated and examined, 110 Girl Scouts who were attending camp watched.

“Donuts, I guess, are a delicacy,” said Tom Bell, golf course superintendent.

After wildlife officer Matthew Lucas sedated the year-old bear, he tattooed a number onto it for record keeping and removed a tooth to determine its age.

Lucas said he will release the 110-pound bear on state game land on Laurel Ridge.

Lucas said doughnuts are a “perfect” enticement. “It's sweet. It's greasy — everything a bear loves.”

An employee in the pro shop reported possibly seeing a bear rummaging in a garbage can about 9 p.m. Sunday, Bell said.

When Bell arrived at work Monday morning, he discovered trash cans scattered about. Later in the day, a mother of a Girl Scout who is attending camp saw a bear in a trash can near a pavilion, Bell said.

Bell contacted the Game Commission, and the trap was set up using doughnuts as bait. Workers arrived on Tuesday morning to find the bear inside.

“This was a good place for him with all the picnics,” Bell said. “He had a good buffet.”

The Scouts watched the bear's capture.

“They're down here, and all the girls got to see it,” Bell said. “It's very, very exciting. It couldn't have happened at a better time, with the girls here.”

Maddison Driscoll, 15, of Greensburg, a Senior Scout, said she couldn't believe her good luck in getting to see a bear up close.

“I was super excited,” she said. “We were just talking about bears the other day ... and I really wanted to see a bear in the wild. I really love bears.”

“I was a little scared at first,” added Avery Schaeffer, 9, of Unity, a Junior Scout. “But then, it was OK.”

Lucas said the bear probably was roaming the area when it was chased off by its mother as she prepares for another breeding season.

“I've had a lot of complaints on him,” Lucas said. “I just got lucky today.”

City administrator Sue Trout said the bear is a first at Mt. Odin in her 18 years as a city employee.

“As long as I've been here, I've never known it to happen,” she said.

Bell agreed.

“We've never, ever had a bear here,” he said. “I'm 45 years old — I'm born and raised here — this is the first bear at Mt. Odin.”

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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