PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - A black bear, possibly the same one spotted earlier this week in both Greenville and Lowell, was spotted twice on Thursday north of Grand Rapids: First at a Plainfield Township country club in the afternoon, and later at a home in Belmont.
On Thursday evening, John Meyerholtz -- who lives in Belmont off Rogue River Drive -- found the bear in his chicken coop.
Meyerholtz said his family dog, which is significantly smaller than the bear, chased the animal up a tree.
Meyerholtz said the bear stayed in the tree for about half an hour, then came back down and ran away.
He said the bear didn't do any damage to the chickens and he suspects it was drawn to the coop by watermelon that was there.
Around 2 p.m., the bear was seen on the 14th green at Blythefield County Club in Plainfield Township -- only miles from where it would later be seen in Belmont.
Bonnie and Don Roth had just teed off at the 14th hole when they saw the bear run across the green.
Bonnie told 24 Hour News 8 that the club superintendent had warned them to keep an eye out for the bear, as there had already been a sighting nearby in a heavily-populated area at the intersection of Plainfield and Breckenridge.
But Bonnie said she and Don never expected to actually see the bear.
Kent County Sheriff's deputies went to the golf course and called the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Authorities said the bear keeps running into a wooded area. The DNR now wants to relocate the bear to a safer area.
One DNR biologist told 24 Hour News 8 though it was possible that the bear was the same one sighted in Greenville on May 13 and in Lowell in following days, he thought it probably wasn't. Another biologist said he simply didn't know if it was the same bear.
Both said what is certain is that there is more than one black bear in the area. They said there have been numerous bear sightings in Kent County in the past few years.
And, they said, the number of sightings will likely increase in northern Kent County in the coming years.
Black bears are becoming increasingly common in the Grand Rapids area, according to the DNR, and they often travel near the Grand River.
The DNR also said there is no reason to panic if you see a black bear as the animals are unlikely to attack people. It encourages avoiding the bear and letting it go about its business.
But, the DNR said, people who do catch sight of a black bear should call their local police agency because it would like to start tracking bears in the area as they establish habitats further south in Michigan.
Rockford Superintendent Mike Shibler told 24 Hour News 8 that the students at Belmont and Roguewood elementary schools were kept inside this afternoon because of the sighting.
When school ended, security personnel were outside keeping an eye on students as they walked to the bus. The parents of students who usually walk home were called and some adults had to come pick students up.
The couple were in their 70s.
It might be December but that is not stopping some people from "hanging 10" in Michigan.
A driver escaped safely after its vehicle crashed into the Grand River in Ottawa County Friday morning.