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photo by Sunday Larson

By Eddie S. Maddock, Sedona Times contributing writer   As surely as the opening lines “The Plane, The Plane” in the former TV series Fantasy Island identified the program, “The Bear, The Bear” might well be the new credo for  residents and visitors to the Broken Arrow and Broken Arrow Vista subdivisions.

Two reports of the sighting of a black bear in the vicinity of Pine Drive near the cemetery at approximately 6:30 AM Tuesday June 22nd quickly became extended events when even more sightings were reported throughout the day by residents in Broken Arrow Vista.

Sunday Larson captured some excellent photos of the hungry bear near her home on Cypress Court. “It was around 8:00 AM and the bear had tipped over a garbage container at the end of the cul-de-sac. I called 911. Sedona police responded along with Arizona Game & Fish. Their efforts were directed towards shooting at the bear with non lethal rubber bullets in an attempt to encourage the bear to return to the wilderness. At that time, they didn’t suggest the use of a tranquilizing gun but didn’t dismiss the use of setting a trap at a later date if necessary,” Larson said.

By 8:15 AM the bear paid a visit to another resident on Juniper Way. Victoria Klahr related, “On my front porch I saw what I believed to be a big black dog. My trash container and a barbecue had been overturned. However, it wasn’t a dog I saw; it was a big black bear, probably 200 pounds and six feet tall. It had a blue tag in one ear and a red tag in the other. I called 911. My friend yelled and clapped and the bear wandered over to the swimming pool. I made phone calls to alert neighbors to be on the lookout, keep their pets indoors, and not be surprised to see men with rifles scouring the neighborhood.” The same as Larson, Klahr confirmed Arizona Game & Fish and the Sedona police were on the scene. She, however, added that the use of a tranquilizing gun had been under consideration.

The bear then returned to its initial treasure trove: the overturned garbage can on Cypress Court, where it feasted on “whatever” while under surveillance by authorities awaiting the arrival of the person with appropriate equipment to deal with the bear which, by this time, had been identified  as big, medium, small, young, old, a cub, a male, a female, and a variety of other descriptions proving the saying that not only “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but so are many other graphic features.

Several more sightings occurred throughout the day; however, the attempt to encourage the bear to find another place to hang out obviously didn’t work because it was back at its favorite front porch on Juniper Way at 9:00 AM Wednesday. At 10:00 AM it jumped a fence, entering the front yard of the property of John Owens on Morgan Road. Neighbors Bill and Cary Allison watched as the Owens’ puppy, Casey, a six month old female Great Pyrenees, chased the bear which ended up in a tree prior to exiting the yard via the back way into the USFS.

Later in the day, two more sightings of the bear were called in from Pine Drive. Listening to a police scanner, authorities were given precise specifics of the bear’s route, leading it back to Broken Arrow Vista, at least one stop at Chuck and Pat Priolo’s front yard on Morgan Road, then over to say “Hi” to Sunday and Rick followed by a quick check of the vacant house on Cypress Drive, and onward and upward, back to visit Jack Owens and Casey. Unfortunately, however, they weren’t available due to previous scheduling for Casey’s first lesson at obedience school.

By now pretty much the entire neighborhood was tuned into what one in attendance labeled as “an event where all the participants were actually getting along.” Even pink jeep tours were stopping, allowing patrons to take advantage of photo-ops since the bear had again ascended a very tall tree and looked down upon the “crazies” below. However, many felt quite certain the mere presence of so many people might just have been the single thing that spared the bear that fatal “real” bullet, since by now both Arizona Game & Fish and the Sedona police department had spent considerable time on failed attempts to relocate the bear. In fact, by now some believed in the possibility of the existence of several bears because it was becoming almost inconceivable that one big, medium, small, old, young bear “cub” could be in so many places in such short time frames.

It was nearing 7:00 PM and the delay in action was caused due to awaiting the arrival of someone coming in from Camp Verde with the proper equipment to tranquilize the bear. The crowd was told the bear would be given the shots and in eight to ten minutes the serum would begin to take effect. Then the Game Warden would climb the tree, attempt to wrap the bear in a rope, and lower it to the ground to be caged, transported, and relocated.

All was going according to plan. However, once the bear reached the ground, surprise! It took off and yet another chase ensued. By now darkness was setting in, and flashlights were essential because it became even more important to find the bear if at all possible. The concern was that once the full extent of the tranquilizer had maximized, the bear would be rendered defenseless leaving it wide open to attacks by other wild animals, specifically coyotes.

The “audience” was gradually thinning, many relieved the bear had escaped although with somewhat heavy hearts not knowing if it were captured again would it really be taken into custody and relocated and/or if the fate of the bear would be left to the discretion of hungry coyotes.

At that time nobody knew. However, this morning, June 24th, the bear paid a quick visit to Pat and Chuck but no one is saying much more at this point in time. It doesn’t really matter how many bears were actually roaming around out there. Everyone knows that at least one survived another night.

Late breaking news: 06/24/10, 5:45 PM; BEAR SIGHTING @ 145 PARAMOUNT DRIVE, NOW PRESENTLY HEADED TO CANYON DRIVE (Maybe to say “Hi” to Sedona Police Commander Ron Wheeler?)


  1. Lea Martin, Sedona says:

    I spotted 2 deeries in the yard this morning munching on the yucca flowers.
    Sweet. I think the forest must be really dry and the animals are coming in for resources.

  2. Such a gift to coexist with deer, bobcat, coyote, javelina, hummingbirds and BEAR, whom I call Arty after the goddess Artemis.
    I invite the public to inspect the Forest Service trap on Juniper just off Morgan. A metal tube, certainly to cook any animal if trapped on a Sedona summer afternoon. I am writing a letter of protest and would appreciate support.
    Sunday Larson

  3. Eddie S. Maddock is to be commended on how well he wrote this article .I truly enjoyed reading it. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such a variety of wildlife and fortunate enough to have someone report it so vividly.

    Abe Koniarsky

  4. eddie says:

    A special thanks to those who not only took time to read my article but submitted comments. That made my efforts well worth while.

    (Ms.) Eddie S. Maddock

  5. Brent Maupin, Sedona says:

    Very good article.

  6. Donna Joy says:

    Great article, very well written. Love reading your articles! Thank you!!!!

  7. Gaye Stoner says:

    Nice article, Eddie,
    What finally happened to the bears?
    I hope the fish and game are getting the message that people don’t want wildlife killed.
    It seems to be the main reaction here in Utah.

  8. Sunday Larson says:

    the bear was euthanized last Saturday….I’m so sad, and angry, but I’m sure they, Game and Fish, justified their action to themselves and to many.

  9. Eddie Maddock says:

    No, I did NOT know that! I’m horrified.

    Eddie Maddock

  10. Eddie Maddock says:

    Bear Shooting: Channel 12 News will air portions of interviews @ 5:00 PM newscast, 06/29/10.

  11. eddie says:

    Based on a report in the Sedona Red Rock News, it seems there’s some confusion as to whether or not “the bear” was actually killed. The woman who appeared on the Channel 12, 5:00 newscast, 6/29/10, presumably from the Arizona Game & Fish Dept., defended the action of having “euthanized” the bear as being a last resort. So, either someone isn’t telling the truth or there are, indeed, more bears out there “at large”. I, personally, hope that’s the case. The thought that there might be a cover-up of some sort going on might very well foster non-reporting to authorities of any sort of wildlife sightings in the future. Let us all hope that none of our government agencies would attempt to be less than honest with the public. Heaven Forbid!

  12. Eddie Maddock says:

    TO: Barbara Litrell, Member of the Sedona City Council

    Of course I know how badly you feel because of our common love for animals. However, the last e-mail I received from you indicated the end of this episode was realized with the poll in the Sedona Red Rock News. I’m no Swami, but I doubt it’s been laid to rest. Hostility is rampant, now coast to coast and even globally with the use of e-mail; and without explanation from even Ron Wheeler, whose name appeared in the RRNews article regarding the erroneous disposition of the bear as having been tranquilized and relocated, this now expanded community event will NOT be silenced. This, in my opinion, cannot be swept under the red rocks of Sedona as what it appears to be . . . a failed attempt to cover-up the true facts of what happened to our bear. Deceiving the public is not acceptable. Whatever it takes to prevent it from happening again needs to be implemented.

    I speak for no one but myself but my heart tells me it’s far more reaching.

    Eddie Maddock

  13. Eddie Maddock says:

    As an apology to TV Channel 12 news reporter, Hannah Mullins, for an earlier e-mail I sent to her asking for identification of the woman on the 5:00 PM, 06/29/10, newscast, after reviewing my own video tape here is what I came up with:

    On tape: “Game & Fish officials said they had no choice.”

    Hannah Mullins: “In an interview yesterday, Shelly Shepherd . . .”

    Shelly Shepherd: “The last thing we want to do is have to euthanize an animal.”

    Hannah Mullins: “Though he wasn’t aggressive, Shelly says it’s not a risk they’re ready to take.”

    Shelly Shepherd: “A bear that was sticking around in residential areas and getting into garbage cans, and again that kind of goes back to that habituation around humans.”

    Hannah: “And apparently humans around their beloved bear.”

    Also, Ms. Shepherd’s affiliation with Arizona Game & Fish was clearly identified by the emblem on her uniform.

    I was the only un-named participant on the program . . . oops . . . more apologies to Laurel and Hardy!

    Over and Out,

    E. Maddock

  14. Caroline Biederman says:

    Eddie – What a well-written article about a heart-touching event! For once it’s nice to read a change-of-pace piece, even if it does stir deep feelings of sadness.
    Good job!

  15. All Around the World News says:

    THE BEAR! THE BEAR! | Sedona Times…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  16. Eddie Maddock says:

    Reports of another bear (one or more?) have been made lately that include sightings on Oak Creek Blvd., Posse Grounds, adjacent school, and Rolling Hills. The night before last a neighbor called to say while walking their dog he and his wife spotted a bear just a couple of houses beyond where I live.

    So here we go again! To call or not to call authorities becomes a question. The bear, as reported, was NOT aggressive. And it’s almost a certainty if State Game & Fish become involved the bear will, if eventually caught, be put down – euthanized.

    When calling another neighbor to give her a heads-up about being on the lookout for a roaming bear, immediately she asked if anyone had called Game & Fish and my response was less than cordial. Why would anyone in this subdivision do such a thing after the ordeal we went through just a few years ago? Not long after our conversation there was an announcement on my scanner that someone did, indeed, report the bear and was site specific – third house on the right up the street from where I live.

    Hopefully the bear outsmarted local authority and is on it’s merry way up the mountain! God Speed “Broken Arrow Bear #2.” And if you did manage to elude captivity, be safe and watch out for potential human intrusion of ghastly laser lighting disrupting the security of darkness in your rightful habitat.

  17. Peter says:

    Better not shoot our Sedona and canyon bear! Get out of Arizona if you don’t appreciate our wildlife and let it be. Even rattlers and scorpions have purposes.

  18. @Peter says:

    Sedona residents should be more frightened of the wild life occupying city hall aka council members & city staff. They are the most venomous critters of all around these parts. However, our opportunity to obliterate the vermin might just exist in the opportunity to vote NO on Home Rule and consider new faces on the city council. When all else fails . . . get rid of the source!

  19. Jerry, Legitimate Sedona Voter says:

    Ditto Ditto Ditto to @Peter The source of Sedona’s ongoing demise has totally originated from greed mongers taking over our little corner of the world. It shifted into high gear when the city council about 8 years ago made the drastic decision to sell “us” (residents) out to benefit the special interest regional Chamber of Commerce.If NO to Home Rule will stop that process then count me in. Otherwise Sedona Bears (one or more) take heed. This is not a friendly place unless you have your paw out for $$$$$. But surely you have more class than that. The only class emanating from city hall has been low class at best.

    Run Bear Run. Get the heck out of Sedona’s version of Dodge before it’s too late.

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