A black bear was killed Tuesday morning after entering Goose Ridge Vineyards in Benton City.
The bear was in an apple orchard for around three hours before members of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shot it to keep it from going into residential areas, Vineyard Manager Robert Rivera said.
Rivera could barely believe it when a worker told him he spotted the bear around 5:15 a.m.
“I told my wife ‘I got to go we have somebody drunk in our orchard,’ ” he said.
The bear ran when it saw Rivera and stayed in the orchard for a couple hours, Rivera said. The bear didn’t want to leave the orchard and stopped to rest multiple times while workers waited in their cars.
Wildlife Officer Kerry Mclerran arrived around 7:25 a.m. and decided to euthanize the bear because of a risk to public safety.
“There was nowhere to scare him off to,” Mclerran said. “He would have either ended up in more orchards, on the freeway or in a residential area.”
A Benton County Sheriff deputy shot the bear, Mclerran said.
The bear was around a year old and wildlife officials don't know why it came into the orchard, Mclerran said. There were no external injuries on the bear when Mclerran inspected it.
Rivera said that was the first bear he has ever seen while working at Goose Ridge.