HENEFER — A young black bear scaled a fence and crossed I-84 south of the Devil's Slide rock formation in Morgan County Monday evening.
The animal had been spotted on the south side of the freeway between Taggart and Henefer.
Henefer resident Steve Richins had heard people talking about the bear and went to look for himself at about 5 p.m. He and his wife were at first unable to spot the animal.
"We were about ready to leave and we drove down the freeway a little bit further and there he was down on the side of the road by a chain-link fence," Richins said.
Richins and other spectators watched as the bear scaled the fence and crossed I-84, including the center median barrier and roadside guard rail. After clearing the freeway, the bear swam across the Weber River, scaled a hill and grabbed the corpse of a dead deer just north of the Union Pacific railway.
Richins snapped several photos of the crossing. One of the photos shows a man holding a young girl just feet away from the bear.
"He was pretty close," Richins said. "He was holding his granddaughter there and the grandmother was really chewing him out for being so close."
Not one for the spotlight, the bear dragged its dinner into the brush north of the freeway and disappeared. A spokesperson for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said the sighting appears to be an isolated incident and biologists will not try to track or trap the bear.
The sighting comes just days after a bear chomped a tent at the Bryant S. Hinckley Scout Ranch near the East Fork of the Bear River in Utah's Uinta Mountains. DWR staff attempted to lure and snare that bear last weekend, but were unsuccessful. They removed their lures Monday to avoid drawing other bears to the popular Boy Scouts of America summer camp.
"An employee from the DWR was going to go to the camp and provide some bear awareness education for the campers," said Brad Hunt, DWR's Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management area manager.
"As long as campers will follow bear safety guidelines when they are in bear country, they're usually going to be very, very safe."
DWR has those bear safety guidelines posted on its website.