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North Adams police: Don’t drunkenly chase bears

Illustration of an American black bear.
Illustration of an American black bear. istock/iStock

Police in North Adams are urging residents to supress their inner Davy Crockett and not chase bears through the woods while wielding a hatchet — because, yes, it really did happen.

In a notice posted on the department’s Facebook page Monday night, police said an intoxicated man was taken into custody after he allegedly pursued a bear while holding a blunt-edged axe in his hands.

“It is just a bad idea and not going to end well,” police wrote in the Facebook post. “It will, however, certainly end you up in jail.”

North Adams police Sergeant James Burdick said the bear-chasing man was a first for him.

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“I’ve been on this job for 33 years and I’ve dealt with a lot of bears, but I have never had anyone chase one into the woods with a hatchet before,” he said. The man was not charged in the incident, but North Adams officials are discussing the possibility with the state environmental police.

Burdick said officers posted the Facebook status to offer a light-hearted take on a serious issue.

“We have been having numerous bear sightings,” Burdick said of the Western Massachusetts community, and police are asking residents to call the department to report bear sightings rather than try to scare off the wild animals themselves.

On May 4, police posted a warning on Facebook about two bears roaming through the area, near the Mohawk Forest development and East Main Street.

Burdick said officers have handed out leaflets with tips to avoid encounters with the bears, including taking down bird feeders, which are attractive snacks for the animals.

“[Don’t] approach the bears, do not attempt to feed the bears, and do not attempt to pet the bears,” police have warned. “Bears are wild, unpredictable and extremely powerful animals that could result in serious injury or death if attacked by one.”

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Even if you have a hatchet.

**Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised** The North Adams Police...

Posted by North Adams Police Department, Massachusetts on Monday, May 11, 2015

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.