PRINCETON, Ind. (WEHT) – What started out as a typical day for 14 year old Ayden Smith turned into anything but for him and his friends. What appeared to be a relatively large black bear was spotted by Ayden in the middle of Princeton’s Southside Park, and it was all caught on video.
“We were playing basketball and we went to the dugout,” recalls Ayden. “And we came back over here, started listening to music for a little bit. Then we looked over, me and my friends, and then we seen a bear.”
The bear, according to Ayden, appeared from a nearby bean field along East Christian Street. Unsuspecting at first, Ayden says he was soon in disbelief of what he witnessed.
“At first we thought it was a dog, but it wasn’t. It was a bear. Then it started walking that way, towards where the woods are,” says Ayden.
Other social media reports indicate possible bear sightings over the Labor Day weekend in Gibson County, including the town of Patoka, and another near Severns Bridge along State Road 65, also in Princeton.
Should you encounter a bear, Indiana Department of Natural Resources encourages residents to maintain a safe distance, avoid climbing into a tree, and wait inside your vehicle or building until the bear is gone. It is also important to never feed a bear should you come in contact with one. Ayden says he will heed this advice moving forward, but he admits he would still capture future bear sightings on video if possible.
“It was kind of scary, but like I said, a bear’s a bear,” explains Ayden. “You don’t hurt it, and it won’t hurt you.”
Should you encounter a black bear, Indiana DNR says you are encouraged to report those sightings through their website.