"It sounds like the Muskegon Police Department observed the bear swimming north back across the lake last evening about 9 p.m.," said State Game Area wildlife biologist Nick Kalejs.
"He used the quiet of the evening to get back across the lake, just like we hoped," Kalejs said. "That's certainly the best outcome by far."
Reports of the bear coming on shore at an old oil tank farm on Lakeshore Drive near Laketon Street were received about 7:30 a.m. Monday, said Conservation Officer Chris Simpson.
Police barricaded the bike path that went through the scrubby brush area and together with conservation officers, scared the bear away from the busy street and into a fenced area between the railroad tracks and the lake.
The bear was last observed about 9 a.m. before he apparently hunkered down in the brush, waiting for the quiet of nightfall to escape the area.
Biologists traveled from Lansing with a dart gun, but said they were reluctant to use it, in case the bear ran into traffic or back into the lake and drowned.
They decided to keep people out of the area and hoped the bear would leave on its own.
"I'm really happy it turned out this way," Kalejs said.