UPDATE: Bear spotted in northeast Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Bear spotted in northeast Iowa

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Courtesy Terry Hovden Courtesy Terry Hovden
RIDGEWAY (KWWL) -

Family and co-workers at Hovden Oil in Ridgeway had a close encounter Tuesday evening. They spotted a black bear just outside of town and snapped some pretty compelling photos.

KWWL stopped up to the northeast Iowa town to hear their story first-hand.

Tom Marhoul was among the first to see it. He was wrapping up his day when a co-worker alerted him to something unusual. He called back to the office -- but Marhoul wasn't sure if anyone there believed him.

"I don't think they really did. They thought I was pulling their leg," he recalled.

"I thought it was a big black dog that got misinterpreted for a bear. But what are the chances? You're not going to miss an opportunity to possibly see a bear!" said Lars Hovden.

Lars is the youngest member of the family-run business. He was in the office with his parents, Terry and Charis, and his grandmother Diane. Diane said she never doubted Marhoul.

"Away we went. We left everything. We left the desks, we left the phones," she said.

"I've got the camera!" Charis said she yelled. "We all just tore out the door."

The Hovdens drove out to the plant where Marhoul was waiting and saw something rustling in the bushes.

"I hopped up on one of the bins up there and directed Terry where it was moving," said Charis.

"We probably sat here for fifteen minutes. We didn't want to startle him," said Terry.

The metal bin Charis was standing on had a different plan -- the noise under her feet scared the bear out of hiding. But Terry had the camera ready.

"I was looking at a screen and the sun was shining on it. So I wasn't sure if I was getting good pictures or not! But I just kept taking them and really never looked at the pictures until we got back to the office afterwards," said Terry.

"I was pretty amazed. They were so clear!" said Charis.

"I've heard of a lot of bear sightings, but not everyone is fortunate to have a camera with them," Terry said.

And not everyone is fortunate enough to have their family with them, either.

"We've had some funny things happen. But this one will stand out in the memory book for sure!" Diane added.

The Iowa DNR reports fewer than thirty black bears have been spotted in Iowa since 1876. Most are in the northeast part of the state. A conservation officer says the bear was probably passing through on his way to Minnesota or Wisconsin.

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