West Michigan's previous bear encounter. Photo from Laura Bos - North Muskegon
JENISON, Mich. (WZZM) -- It made some golfers extra nervous on Friday, but for others it was the main attraction.
There were several reported sightings of a black bear in Jenison on Thursday afternoon. WZZM 13's Alex Shabad went riding in a golf cart to look for a bear and found out it might be a case of mistaken identity.
At first, the bear sighting was barely believable.
"I've never seen a bear in this part of Michigan," says Jim Chesla, an employee for the Wallinwood Springs Golf Club.
However, four 9-1-1 callers saw the same thing.
"Initially, the bear was spotted on the 18th fairway by some golfers and then again later on the 11th fairway," says Chesla.
WZZM 13 went along with Chesla on a golf cart to look for the black bear.
The Ottawa County Sheriff's Department is warning people to keep a distance and not photograph the bear. However, some golfers were amused by the sighting.
"I came here just to positively see a bear," says golfer, Joe Opatic.
However, other golfers admitted being nervous.
"Maybe a little bit, I'd take one of my golf clubs out just to be sure," says golfer, Mark Offringa.
However, the golf course maintenance man, Dan Haagsma, believes it was a case of mistaken identity. He says the callers probably thought his dogs were the bear.
"The call came in right at the same time and I was right in the same spot and I had both dogs," says Haagsma. "They were running side by side so they might have been looking like a bigger animal, and I'm pretty sure that's what was seen."
Sheriff's Deputies say caution is still needed, since those sightings were credible. If anyone sees the bear, deputies say keep a distance and do not approach.