Police said the 150-pound black bear, a male estimated to be 1 1/2 to 2 years old, was spotted wandering through yards near a school bus stop just outside of downtown Waycross at about 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, the Florida Times-Union reported Wednesday.
Police said children waiting at a nearby school bus stop were sent back into their homes while officers trailed the animal to an area near the Okefenokee Regional Library and eventually spotted it climbing about 20 feet up into an oak tree in a resident's yard.
"The bear was not aggressive in any way," Ware County Police Chief Dennis Hagood said.
Hagood shot the bear with a tranquilizer dart and it was taken into custody by officers from the state Department of Natural Resources.
Steve Kyles, a DNR wildlife technician, said the bear did not appear injured when it regained consciousness and was released in a swamp far enough out of town that officials do not believe it can find its way back.