Bear roams Columbia County neighborhoods

Monday, June 15, 2009 7:52 AM
Last updated 11:48 PM
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A wandering bear spotted in Columbia County this morning has continued to move through several subdivisions today, according to Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker.

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A black bear was spotted off Stevens Creek Road on Monday.  Andrew Bryan/Special
Andrew Bryan/Special
A black bear was spotted off Stevens Creek Road on Monday.

Most recently, the bear – estimated from residents’ photos to be a 2-year-old male weighing about 150 pounds – was seen along Foxfire Place in West Lake, she said. Others spotted the bear near the entrance to Barrington and at Stevens Pointe.

Shortly before noon, the bear traveled along Watervale Road, where it tried to enter a garage and then ran behind a residence.

“This bear sounds scared and is trying to find his way – most likely towards Gainesville or Macon. That’s where our two closest bear populations are.”

The bear was first seen around 7 a.m. in The Locks subdivision off Evans to Locks Road near the Savannah River. Although some reports have identified the bear as a small cub, other callers describe a very large animal.

It is unlikely, however, that there are two bears traveling together, according to experts.

“Most likely, we are dealing with a solitary young male that, at some point, got kicked out of its home range and he is wandering around the state looking to find his own home range,” said Georgia Wildlife Resources Division biologist I.B. Parnell of the division’s Thomson field office.

Black bears routinely wander throughout the state during late spring and early summer, so it is not unusual to spot one outside their normal habitat range.

“We usually have several in this area every year, and right about this time of year,” Mr. Parnell said. “But we have never recorded a female with cubs in this area. All the ones we’ve seen are the typical young males, usually in the 150-pound category.”

Black bears live in the extreme northern and southern portions of Georgia, where females typically give birth to one or two – and occasionally three – cubs in January or February. The young are usually weaned in August but will stay with the mother for at least a year.

Wildlife authorities were not involved in searching for the bear, in hopes that – if left alone – it will continue on its way without requiring intervention.

“Trailing a bear by car or on foot is just not a good idea,” he said. “At this point we’re trying to keep everyone out of the way, and another truck from our agency would just complicate the situation.”

Anyone who sees the bear should stay away from it, Mrs. Tucker said.

“This bear is not looking to hurt anyone. He’s made some sort of a loop looking for a new territory where other bears are close-by. It won’t find that here – and if we get out of the way – he will find his way where he needs to be. DNR strongly advises just leaving it alone at this point. “

Today’s sighting is the third time this month that a bear has been seen in the area.

On June 4, a Columbia County employee on her way to work saw a bear in a field as she drove down Baker Place Road from Wrightsboro Road. She stopped her car and watched as the bear crossed the road in front of her car, moving toward Grovetown. There were no subsequent reported sightings.

Three days earlier, residents in Savannah Lakes Village along Thurmond Lake in McCormick County, S.C., reported a bear traveling through their neighborhoods.

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DNR provided these tips for handling bears in residential areas:

1. Never pursue or chase on foot or in vehicles in an attempt to chase it from the area

2. Give plenty of space and an avenue of retreat

3. Homeowners should remove dogs from the area (keep penned up) so the bear doesn’t run up a tree

4. Remove all dog and cat food from outside on porches or yards

5. Put trash out on the day of pick-up by garbage company

Comments (34) Add comment
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lew767
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lew767 06/15/09 - 08:07 am
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Yogie were is Boo-Boo!

Yogie were is Boo-Boo!

1trugent
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1trugent 06/15/09 - 08:20 am
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Totally unbearable!

Totally unbearable!

Tujeez1
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Tujeez1 06/15/09 - 08:51 am
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Somebody better tell that

Somebody better tell that bear that the fish in the river have fish eating advisories out on them due to the mercury levels in the water. I wouldn't want that bear to get sick from eating too much contaminated fish.

boodroe
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boodroe 06/15/09 - 08:52 am
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I live in that neighborhood

I live in that neighborhood the neighborhood I saw no bear

Edward1968
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Edward1968 06/15/09 - 08:53 am
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I hope he/she doesn't run out

I hope he/she doesn't run out into traffic. I couln't bear it!!

aftbrn
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aftbrn 06/15/09 - 09:23 am
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Bearly identifiable from this

Bearly identifiable from this photo.

indiglo22
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indiglo22 06/15/09 - 09:24 am
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There are only two advisories

There are only two advisories for fish taken from that part of the river due to mercury. There is an advisory for largemouth bass and spotted suckers. The GA EPD recommends 1 meal/week for both fish. Clarks Hill also has one fish advisory for largemouth bass over 16" due to mercury. The recommendation is also 1 meal/week.

AAQueen
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AAQueen 06/15/09 - 09:24 am
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Thanks to the comedians this

Thanks to the comedians this morning. LOL LOL LOL LOL
I could BEAR-ly contain myself

Bored in GA
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Bored in GA 06/15/09 - 09:39 am
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Boodroe......It says if you

Boodroe......It says if you spot the bear then stay away!! It may eat from your hand tho..because yall seem to think Columbia county has no bad links!! HA

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 06/15/09 - 10:25 am
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Why would anyone one to spot

Why would anyone one to spot a bear? I guess it's easier than striping one.

georgiasouthern
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georgiasouthern 06/15/09 - 11:16 am
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Leave the bear alone. I think

Leave the bear alone. I think it is selfish for people to want to remove something that has not harmed anyone. I would rather have a few bear running around than stray dogs. You hear of way more pit bull attacks than bear attacks.

draksig
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draksig 06/15/09 - 11:17 am
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Oh the Puns! I can bearly

Oh the Puns! I can bearly get through them all. Oh wait...!

overburdened_taxpayer
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overburdened_taxpayer 06/15/09 - 12:10 pm
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I was bear-ly awake this

I was bear-ly awake this morning when I first heard this story.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 06/15/09 - 04:41 pm
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I guess we'll just have to

I guess we'll just have to grin and bear it. I'd rather have one bear around than all those feral hogs that are destroying the ecology along Grovetown creeks.

Ole School
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Ole School 06/15/09 - 05:31 pm
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Listen , NONE of the above

Listen , NONE of the above comments have ANY bearing on the situation at hand .... just thought I would add mine.... LOL... leave the little fella alone , heck the last one we moved ended up dead for the same reason we moved him !

georgiasouthern
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georgiasouthern 06/15/09 - 05:40 pm
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We should leave the bear

We should leave the bear alone. Bears are not that dangerous of an animal. People make them out to be vicious when the truth of the matter is that we have other animals that can be just as dangerous that live around us. You could walk by five or six black bear and probably not even know they are there. They are just another animal like dear and bob cats.

mable8
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mable8 06/15/09 - 06:09 pm
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I hope DNR finds the bear and

I hope DNR finds the bear and tranquilizes it for transportation to a more suitable environment. The bear is innocent; its the people who are creating the problem.

joeuser
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joeuser 06/15/09 - 06:10 pm
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Probably just looking around

Probably just looking around neighborhoods for the bear necessities.

joeuser
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joeuser 06/15/09 - 06:16 pm
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I suggest we capture the

I suggest we capture the bear, hand him over to MCG Hospital and the Aiken County sheriff's department. That would probably be the quickest route for him escaping back into the wild.

beme
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beme 06/15/09 - 07:11 pm
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No...the fastest way to set

No...the fastest way to set it free is to lock it in the Columbia County Detention Center and it will be out in no tome at all !!!

itwuddntme
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itwuddntme 06/15/09 - 08:37 pm
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The bear puns have gone fur

The bear puns have gone fur enough. I hope y'all ear me well or I'll tell your paw.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 06/15/09 - 08:45 pm
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"Probably just looking around

"Probably just looking around neighborhoods for the bear necessities.
Posted by joeuser on Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:10 PM" My favorite.

coolette
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coolette 06/15/09 - 09:03 pm
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He is BEARY cute!!!

He is BEARY cute!!!

FlyersFan77
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FlyersFan77 06/15/09 - 09:16 pm
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People this is SERIOUS

People this is SERIOUS business. There is a bear in them thar woods!!!! Hide your jars of honey!!!!

joeuser
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joeuser 06/15/09 - 09:37 pm
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I know this one may look

I know this one may look black, but I just hope they don't make a grizzly discovery anytime soon.

Summerville
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Summerville 06/15/09 - 09:39 pm
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ummmm, are we sure that mike

ummmm, are we sure that mike the gorilla isn't on the lam again?

Taylor B
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Taylor B 06/15/09 - 10:28 pm
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If they found a white bear in

If they found a white bear in columbia county, this wouldnt be news, this is racist. Im telling Sharpton on you guys....

Grasshopper
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Grasshopper 06/15/09 - 10:39 pm
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I'm beared out good night

I'm beared out good night

Tujeez1
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Tujeez1 06/15/09 - 11:00 pm
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The article said this bear

The article said this bear was spotted, someone is seeing things, I looked at the pictures and I didn't see no spots! Somebody's been into Snuffy Smith's corn squeezins again!

Nammy3
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Nammy3 06/15/09 - 11:02 pm
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Bear with me here I didn't

Bear with me here I didn't see this baby until now.....ya'll are so crazy! {love it!!}...LMAO!!!

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