Heavy rain, spring snow pack and sparse vegetation will make for a busy bear season for Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.
And the capture of a bear in Renton on Monday may be just the start.
"This is going to be a rough bear year," said Bruce Richards of the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Police, who worked with Renton's Animal Control, the Renton Police Department and Renton Fire and Emergency Services to capture the young black bear in the Renton Highlands.
The first 911 call came in just after 9:30 a.m. Monday, according to the police department report. The caller noted the bear was "last seen running south."
The four-hour-long ordeal drew upwards of 100 spectators, both young and old.
Kindergarteners Weston Sabin and Quinten Jenkins were fresh home from school when Quinten's mom, Monique, learned of the bear on the noon news broadcast.
"We inched our way over here," Monique said of bringing the youngsters over for a closer look.
Neither boy, nor 5-year-old Kienan Sabin, who walked over with them, had seen a live bear before.
Fish and Wildlife allowed the spectators to get within feet of the sedated animal once it was securely on the ground.
The bear, a 2½-year-old male weighing about 200 pounds, had climbed a tree before being sedated and captured, unharmed.
Renton's animal control normally deals with one or two bear calls each year, said Public Information Officer Terri Vickers.
Fire and Rescue isn't normally involved, said Battalion Chief Tally Hall, who remembers the department responding to two bear calls in the 36 years he has worked in Renton.
On both occasions, the Department of Fish and Wildlife have needed a ladder truck to vie for better aim when shooting tranquilizers darts, he said.
Richards shot four darts at the bear. His frustration showed during TV interviews after the bear fell about 40 feet from the tree, feet-first, onto a tarp supported by the first responders.
The bear was uninjured after the fall.
"The (first three darts) did not eject," he said of the tranquilizers. "That was a pretty messed-up deal."
Sedating large animals is nothing new to Richards, who has captured bears for the past 38 years.
Wildlife situations are different than what happens in a veterinary office, he said. Officers must deal with wind, foliage and other factors that are out of their control.
The bear will be released back into the wild, Richards said, although he doesn't know where.
"The problem with relocation is they always want to come back," he said, adding that the lack of available food will complicate the relocation.
Editor's Note: You can follow the bear on its Twitter account @RentonBear.