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Bears are a common animal seen around Springfield. They normally live in the woods but have been known to wander into town and cause trouble.
Jebediah Springfield, founder of the town, is said to have killed a bear with his bare hands and the story has become a Springfield legend, which is immortalized as a statue in the center of Town Square. Upon reviewing the evidence historians have determined the bear probably killed him. However this is proved wrong by a secret will found by Lisa, which states he died of syphilis.
Maggie is taken in by a family of bears while the rest of the family have to live on their own out in the woods. They brought her all kinds of toys and kept her warm at night, proving that they are not all mean. In the end they were sad to see her go but as a parting gift she gave one of them one of her pacifiers.
When Homer is late to Springfield Elementary School's talent show with Lisa's saxophone reed, Marge imagines he's been chased up a tree by a bear, but quickly dismisses that theory. A bear ate a camper's hat at Kamp Krusty. The junior camper group led by Ernest Borgnine was attacked by a bear. Borgnine was going to use his knife to defend them, but Homer had stolen it. Among Mr. Burns' collection of animal based clothing is grizzly bear underwear.
Ben is the host of his own TV show. He wears a helmet with a microphone attached. One episode was about mothers and runaway daughters reunited by their hatred of Homer Simpson, who was accused of sexual harassment at the time. One member of the audience wanted to talk about the funding of public schools, while another tried to ask a question, only for Ben to go towards the buffet table. A man tries to stop him, to which Ben aggressively swats him, causing the Ben Squad to tranquillize him and Ben to fall into the audience and the show to be cut. Two bear-based reality shows have also hit Springfield - Tied to a Bear and Billionaire vs. Bear One of Roofi's songs is called "Helpful Bear on the 28th Floor".
Homer tells Lisa one of the things he has learnt with age is that when a sign says "Do not feed the bears" you do not feed the bears, revealing a baby bear biting his arm. Channel 6 News reports of a stowaway bear terrorizing space shuttle astronauts. Bear Baiting, a death sport, appears to be popular in Springfield with a magazine based on the sport available in the Kwik-E-Mart.
A bear appears at Evergreen Terrace, but seems passive. Despite this Ned Flanders panics, crashing his car into a tree and frantically tries to get into his home with the rest of the Flanders family struggling to unlock the door. Ned ends up jumping through the glass near the door. The bear is extensively covered on the news and the Simpson family, much to an unaware Homer's joy, watch the bear destroy their mailbox. Homer, not wanting to be captive in his own home without beer, tries to climb the power lines, but his weight causes them to dip and he ends up face-to-face with the bear. Chief Wiggum, using a blow dart, attempts to tranquillize the bear, and after hitting Barney with the first shot, hits the bear, who is taken away in a U.S. Forest Service truck. Despite it being the only bear attack in history, the locals are tired of the "constant bear attacks" and Homer leads an angry mob to City Hall to ensure it doesn't happen again. To do this, Quimby starts a Bear Patrol, which was a costly venture, featuring expensive high-tech aircraft (carrying out a bombing campaign) and street patrols. This caused a $5 tax rise, which once again causes another angry mob. To try and please the mob's demands of a bear patrol without the extra tax Quimby blames high taxes on illegal immigrants.
Lenny is weekend watchman for Springfield Bear Patrol. One Saturday he received a call about a bear attacking celebrities, and called the rest of the team (Carl, Homer and Barney) via conch. They arrived at the scene, Channel 6 Television Studio, to the set of reality show Celebrities Dancing With Bears. Buttercup and Sideshow Mel were practising the cha-cha slide when she attacked, which caused the other bears to suddenly attack their partners (Kent Brockman, Krusty and Bumblebee Man) before going back to their calm selves. Before the Bear Patrol can investigate the Springfield Police Department burst in and arrest the bears, not only taking over the case but also shutting down the Bear Patrol for good. However Wiggum soon regrets this as bear attacks occur throughout the city and even break into the police station, stealing Wiggum's keys and unlocking the cell. Wiggum goes back to the Bear Patrol for help, and they agree, providing they get a triple pay increase (despite being volunteers). Lisa helps them by concluding that someone is using the bears for personal gain and to find them they should locate where the bears are running off to. The next day Homer plants a tracking device on a bear by dressing as a girl with a basket, which the bears promptly attack and steal. This leads them to the observatory, where they find a group of angry bears and a stack of gold and other treasures. Scared they randomly fire their tranquillizer guns and hide in the corner, prepared for death. However the bears stop and a tranquillized Arnie Pie, wearing Professor Frink's Ursine-O-Matic Bear Controller, stumbles out of a corner. It turns out that Arnie, jealous of not being on the TV show decided to destroy it. With Arnie arrested, the show continues, hosted by Bill and Marty, with Kent Brockman doing a tango with Cinnamon. Meanwhile Arnie Pie is found not guilty due to the witnesses being in Moe's instead of in court.
When preparing the zoo animals for Homer's next masterpiece Bart gets mauled by the grizzly bear. A Bear, when Mt. Springfield caught on fire, attempted to escape via the helicopter's ladder, but Homer (who was drunk) cut it down with the bear still on it. The bear then fled through the forest. It is unknown if that particular bear survived or not. A bear is seen in the hospital corridors.
Homer takes his giant deep-fired, caramel-covered, cotton candy ball to the dump. There he is confronted by a angry grizzly bear and cowers in fright. The bear wanders off, bored of a distraught Homer. Despite being left unscathed, Homer becomes a nervous wreck and hallucinates, seeing bears everywhere. Soon after a video is released of Homer and the bear and Homer is left embarrassed. Grampa tells Homer to confront the bear, and after contacting Grant Connor, a hunter, he constructs a makeshift suit of armor and goes to take on the bear with Bart, Lenny and Carl. After setting in camp, Homer takes off his armor and bathes in a stream, where the bear once again attacks him, dragging Homer to its cave. There Homer discovers that the bear is only angry due to an electrical prod attached to its ear. Homer removes the tag and him and the bear become friends, going through garbage together. Homer then takes the bear to a wildlife refuge, but on the way, Grant (called by a worried Marge and Lisa) and other hunters start shooting at the bear. Homer puts the bear in his armor, which successfully stops the bullets and let's him go to the refuge. However upon arrival he is attacked by an elephant, and the two creatures start fighting.
At Springfield Forest, Chalmers tells The Brotherhood of the Spectacles "There are no bad fathers in the wilderness". After this is said a bear tries to eat his own child, only for its mother to slap him, telling him to stop.
To try and teach the kids discipline and prove to Chalmers that he's a good school principal he decides that all pupils with more than 20 detentions in the last month have to go on a back-to-basics camping trip (though the school's "state-of-the-art" computer also sends Martin the letter). Only Martin and Bart show up, both wearing a bear costume (which Bart promptly removes once Marge is out-of-sight). Skinner abandons the boys with Wille and once they discover he is staying in a luxury cabin, they start training to give him a "drubbin' he'll not soon forget!" During the training Willie fights a bear.
 Fictional bears
The Itchy & Scratchy Show also featured a bear, which was stolen by Roger Meyers, Sr. and was mentioned in a court case over the identity of Itchy and Scratchy's creator. A bear also appeared in the short-lived Itchy & Scratchy and Friends Hour holding a club. Other characters on the show, besides the titular duo, included Disgruntled Goat, Ku Klux Clam, Uncle Ant and an unnamed female cow.
A fire safety mascot, Hosey the Bear was at Springfield Elementary School's fire safety fair, where he lectured kids on the importance of fire safety. Ralph, sitting on his lap, thought he was Santa, and talked about what gifts he wanted. When on the topic of fire safety Ralph revealed at his house their called "Uh-Oh's". There is a statue of Hosey at the Mt. Useful Visitors Center, which asks "Who can prevent forest fires?" with a button which answers "You".
While in Washington, D.C. Homer had a maze where you help Yogi Bear get to the Washington Monument. Homer once dreamt he was Yogi Bear, as Ho-diddily-omie, father of Bart-Bart, and, like Yogi, smarter than the average bear. He steals a picnic basket and when Ranger Ned asks him to give it back, Ho-diddily-omie mauled him savagely.
A possible future plot for the show was Bart owning a bear.