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Police find no sign of bear near Polo

Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:43 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 6:08 p.m. CDT

Deputies were unable to find any sign of a black bear reported roaming in western Ogle County Monday evening.

After a woman called 911 to report seeing a "good-sized" bear shortly after 8 p.m., Ogle County Sheriff Michael Harn said he and deputies patrolled the area but could not confirm the sighting.

"We checked the area and found nothing," Harn said. "I'm not 100 percent sure it really was [a bear]. We haven't had any other sightings."

He said the woman said she first saw the bear on the side of Ill. 64 west of Mt. Vernon Road, and then it ran into a nearby field.

In recent months a black bear has been sighted in JoDaviess and Stephenson Counties. More recently one has been photographed in backyards in the Roscoe area.

Harn said a bear was videotaped Tuesday still in the Roscoe area.

"So it couldn't have been that one," he said.

The report of the bear sent campers at Rock River Christian Camp, 16486 Ill. 64, inside for the evening.

Camp manager Dan Augustine said evening activities were moved indoors as a precaution after the woman reported seeing the bear about a quarter mile east of the camp.

Augustine said about 100 people were at the camp when the sighting was reported.

The campers, who range in age from 10 to 16, were more excited than frightened, he said.

"My wife and I camp in Minnesota," Augustine said. "There's bears all over the place up there."

He said he also patrolled the area after the sighting and saw no sign of the bear.

Harn advised residents in the area of the report to take precautions, such as  closely supervising pets and small animals when they're outside, taking down bird feeders, and not leaving any kind of food outside.

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