Photo of a black bear spotted in the parking lot of a car dealership in Columbia County
Columbia County, GA -
Michael Hauser of Martinez, GA says, “It’s thrilling ya know, it’s a little scary ya know.”
Hauser went into the woods looking for a black bear spotted Sunday night.
“I saw a big tree trunk, thought it was the bear for a second, and my heart jumped...just the thought of being that close to it," said Hauser.
It all started in Columbia County after the sun went down Sunday. Then, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) got the call for the first black bear sighting in the area in over 5 years.
Lee Taylor, a Game Management Regional Supervisor at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, says, “Report of a bear taking a bag of trash off a back porch that was around ten o’clock last night.”
Taylor says the bear was probably hungry, as it was moving from neighborhood to neighborhood.
“Looks like it was just an opportunity the bear came across to grab a bag of trash and eat that," said Taylor.
Taylor says it’s normal for bears to be on the move when June comes around. “This time of year, getting ready to go into breeding season, dominant males will push out competitors," said Taylor.
Jason Nappi, reporting: “I’m standing in a neighborhood just off of Wheeler Road where the bear was last spotted. Georgia DNR says the bear is most likely sleeping somewhere behind me in over 21 acres of these woods.”
Taylor says Georgia black bears commonly move through the CSRA. “This one has been on the move since we spotted it last night. Pretty sure it’s a transient bear just trying to find its home range," said Taylor.
He says Georgia black bears aren’t usually dangerous, as long as you leave them be. “We just don’t want to startle the bear. We want to encourage it to move on by not feeding it," said Taylor.
But, if you should come across a bear on your property, Taylor says not to run away and keep your pets on a leash.
If you see the bear and don’t feel safe, Taylor says to call the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) at 800-241-4113.