Florida Fish and Wildlife officials give bear safety tips

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla (WMBB) — Callaway resident Adron Courtney was surprised to see a fairly large bear in his driveway last week, but Florida Fish and Wildlife officials say it’s really not unusual this time of year for bear sightings in the panhandle.

FWC Bear Management Program Coordinator David Telesco said bears tend to be skittish, but you don’t want to give them a reason to hang out around your home.

“The concern is when bears aren’t afraid of people and they will just show up anytime and show up when people are around and we certainly don’t want that,” said Telesco.

Telesco said it is important that they aren’t finding food, so he suggests getting a bear resistent trash can and to keep bird seed hidden until the winter.

“People are really surprised about bird seed, because bird seed does attract bears,” Telesco said.

In this recent encounter, the bear snoops around the trash cans before taking off.

Courtney said he was about to walk his dog and only waited after his doorbell camera alerted him to something outside.

“If people are walking their dogs, what we suggest is, before you open your door, if it’s dark out maybe bang around on the door a little bit,” Telesco said. “That way any wildlife whether it’s a bear, a racoon, or anything else has a chance to get out of the way.”

However, Telesco said there are some things you can do if you find yourself face-to-face with a bear.

“You don’t want to continue approaching and you want to let them know you are there,” said Telesco. “You talk quietly and you back up that’s what we advise people to do. “If it gets to a point where the bear is interested in you and starts walking towards you that’s when you wanna puts your arms up and say get out of here.”

Bears tend to be more active at night so it is important to be aware of the possibility of encountering one when it’s dark out.

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