Preston Street bear escapes to Spring Bayou


by Raymond L. Daye
“Preston,” the Preston Street bear, has left the city.
The bear that spent a week up one tree or another in backyards on the Marksville street since Mother’s Day, was finally caught in a trap he had out-foxed for several days. He then proved himself to be “smarter than the average bear,” which prompted resident Dennis Carmouche to name him “Yogi.”
“We caught it Monday evening,” Nikki Carmouche said. “That’s the frustrating part. It got in the cage, we pulled the rope, the door fell and he was in the cage.”
After several days of “Yogi” climbing into the cage, taking the treats and walking out without tripping the trap, Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries biologist Ken Moreau devised a trap that would enable an observer to pull the rope and release the door.
“After Ken left, the bear came down the tree and got in the trap,” Nikki said. “We pulled the rope and the door fell.”
There was much celebrating around the cage as the neighborhood gathered to see the bear that was the subject of national news for the past week. “Then my husband saw the door start to  open, and then the head was out,” Nikki recounted. “He said, ‘Everybody run’ and it was like cockroaches when the light’s turned on. Everybody scattered.”
At the time, the incident was scary, “but it’s funny now. They put a camera on the tree to watch the bear. They’re going to have some funny stuff on that camera.”
After leaving the cage, Yogi went back up a tree for a short while and then came down and eventually headed off down a fence line towards Spring Bayou.
Nikki said she was impressed by the bear, but more by the dedication and perseverance of wildlife biologist Ken Moreau.
“He did everything he could,” she said. “I saw him stand out there for 8-10 hours a day waiting for that that bear to get in that cage.”
The bear spent some of his time in a tree between the Carmouche yard and neighbor Patsy Trevillion’s yard. He began the week on May 10 in the a tree in Anthony and Bridgett Ford’s yard.
Another bear was treed in Belledeau, in the yard of Matthew and Misty Ard, on May 14, but escaped without incident that night.
Maria Davidson, head of the LDWF’s large carnivore program said the  bear would have been released in the Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area had it been captured, so he is where he is supposed to be. She said bear sightings may become more common as the black bear population increases.
This time of year they are more likely because young males are chased away by their mothers to protect them from older males in search of a mate. The young males are about a year old and weigh about 150 pounds. The adult males weigh up to 600 pounds. Davidson said the yearling females may be allowed to live near the mother, but males are “run off aggressively” and seek a new home father away.