A bear was spotted roaming on the deck of a house in the 24100 block of West Deer Ridge Lane in unincorporated Antioch Saturday evening. | Photos via Natalie Fields

The Antioch woman who spotted a black bear just feet away from her Saturday described the shock she was in when she saw the wild animal walking on her house’s deck.

Natalie Fields told Lake and McHenry County Scanner in an interview that she had just come home from dinner Saturday evening.

Fields was sitting in a chair next to her patio door, which was open but had the screen closed.

She heard her bird feeder crash down and assumed it was raccoons or squirrels.

Fields said she got up from her chair and saw a black bear standing on her patio just feet away staring at her.

“I was not expecting him at all, and I don’t think he was expecting me,” she said.

Fields yelled at the bear for making a mess on her patio and grabbed her phone to take photos of the animal.

She opened her screen door to get a closer look at the bear, at which point it walked off her deck and went into the woods.

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Fields said her home, located on West Deer Ridgle Lane in unincorporated Antioch, has a variety of wildlife but never has she seen a bear in the area before.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the sighting and they contacted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The sheriff’s office initially said IDNR would attempt to locate the loose animal, tranquilize it and relocate it.

In an update, sheriff’s officials said IDNR did not want to drug or relocate the bear.

“Large visitors like the bear are becoming more common. We don’t want the public to panic. We want them to be educated about our visitors and act accordingly,” the IDNR said.

“If a situation arises that the bear needs to be drugged and removed the Department will work with Federal USDA Wildlife Services to accomplish that task,” the department added.

A bear crosses Westbrook Lane near Gurnee Mills Circle West after it ran through the parking lot of the Hunt Club KinderCare in Gurnee on June 7, 2023. | Photo: Brian Durlak

The bear sighting came just days after a black bear was spotted running near Gurnee Mills mall in Gurnee.

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The Gurnee Police Department said they received reports of the bear sighting around 8:45 a.m. on June 7.

The bear was reported in the area of Hunt Club Road and Route 132 in Gurnee.

Officers responded and checked the area but the bear was not found.

A video taken by a motorist showed the bear crossing Westbrook Lane near Gurnee Mills Circle West at the Hunt Club KinderCare.

The daycare facility said in a message to parents that no one was in danger when the bear ran across their parking lot.

Wildlife biologists and conservation police from the IDNR say they are monitoring the black bear sightings in Lake County.

The IDNR said in a statement Tuesday that the sightings in Antioch and Gurnee are believed to be the same black bear.

The bear’s current location is unknown and IDNR has not received additional sightings since early Sunday morning near Antioch.

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The bear has not caused any problems with the public, according to the IDNR, which added that residents should let it move without interference.

The IDNR said that anyone who sees a black bear should not run or surprise the animal.

“Make noise to ensure that the bear is aware of your presence. A black bear is not likely to attack a person unless it feels trapped or provoked,” according to IDNR.

“Respect the bear’s space, and do not approach the animal. If the bear sees you, stand your ground; look as large as possible by standing up straight and putting your arms up in the air and slowly back away,” IDNR says.

People who live in the vicinity of the bear sightings are recommended to secure their garbage cans and barbecue grills indoors and temporarily stop feeding birds.

Anyone who spots a bear is encouraged to file a report online.