On November 4, 2023 New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) Jason Powers was notified by DEC Central Dispatch that an individual checking coyote traps in the town of Cuba on the western border of Allegany County, NY discovered a small black bear caught in one of his foothold traps.
Officer Powers contacted his brother Jamie Powers, also an ECO, and ECO Ike Bobseine for assistance. The three officers met at the property and were greeted by the trapper who guided them to the trapped bear.
Offcier Bobseine brought a large piece of plywood and used a saw to cut an opening in the bottom of the plywood to place around the trapped bear paw.
Bobseine and Powers then held the plywood against the bear while the third ECO released the bear’s paw from the trap.
The officers said the bear immediately ran away healthy and relatively unharmed but soon returned to a nearby puddle for a much-needed drink of water.
You can watch video of the release here.
Illustration: ECOs releasing trapped black bear (still frame from DEC video).