State game wardens had to shoot a bear Tuesday morning after it became increasingly menacing.

Workers in the Goose Ridge Vineyard area in Benton City were forced to stop working and move away after the black bear was sighted. Benton County Sheriff's deputies say the animal, estimated to be about a year old, exhibited threatening behavior towards the workers.

Authorities say the animal had several coyotes following it, suggesting perhaps it was sick or not in good health. They say these predators can often sense if a large animal is in trouble. The coyotes did not attack the bear, and left before deputies arrived. The bear was taken away by state game wardens.

Such bear sightings, while not unheard of, are generally rare in Benton and Franklin County. A check of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife website's listing of reported dangerous wildlife incidents over the last three years shows 10 listed incidents since 2010, but they all involved cougars. A similar check showed three cougar sightings over the last few years in Franklin County.

Newstalk 870 did not find any listings of bear sightings in Benton or Franklin County at the Fish and Wildlife website. (Photo courtesy of KNDU-TV).

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