BOSTON (Reuters) - Add a new worry to the list facing police officers in western Massachusetts: People getting drunk and chasing bears.

"The North Adams Police Department is urging everyone to not chase bears through the woods with a dull hatchet, drunk. Yes that really did happen tonight," police in the city of 13,500 people in a mountainous area near the Massachusetts-Vermont border requested on Facebook late on Monday.

The post, which was confirmed as authentic by a police dispatcher on Tuesday, came after officers responded to a call reporting a disturbance and found an inebriated man who had set out to drive bears away from his property, the dispatcher said.

The man was taken into protective custody due to his intoxication and later released without charges, the dispatcher said.

"We understand there are bears in the area," the police department urged. "If you see a bear, leave it alone."

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Lambert)