Florida Deputy Zaps Prowling Bear With Taser

A sheriff's deputy got a shock when a bear came toward him as he searched for a prowler. So he gave the bear a shock with his Taser.

Homeowner Charlie McQueen Smith called Santa Rosa County deputies Tuesday night after finding her air conditioner torn from her kitchen window.

Deputy Ray Dykes thought he was looking for a prowler.

"When I pulled up, I saw the reflection of an animal's eyes. It looked like a little bear cub," he said. "I got to about 40 feet and it stood up, and that's when I knew it was fully grown."

Dykes used his Taser gun when the bear got too close.

"He was about seven or eight feet away when I shocked him," he said.

The bear fell to the ground, breaking the connection with the weapon, which administers a strong electrical charge. The animal fled into the woods and disappeared.

Smith said she's lived in the home since it was built in 1960 and had never seen a bear there before Friday. The bear showed up then and visited several times over the weekend. Smith suspects the smell of fried chicken might have enticed it to try and come inside. A trash pit near the home might also have been a lure, officials said.

If the animal returns, the Florida Wildlife Commission will likely capture and relocate it, said commission biologist Pat Bowman.

"Between the Taser shock and the garbage removal, I would like to think this bear is going to stay away," she said.

Black bears are protected by state law.