What a black bear was doing snooping around behind Clemson University President James P. Clement’s garage, no one can say for sure.
But the furry creature apparently didn’t feel comfortable in Tiger town. He turned tail and ran when approached by campus police and headed back to the hills from whence he came.
“The last I heard it was wandering off into some woods,” university spokesman John Gouch said.
It was at least the second bear trying to sign up for summer session – or something – at an institution of higher education in the Upstate recently.
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A black bear was spotted at Furman University around 2 a.m a few weeks ago.
A Clemson partisan observed that the critter might have better chances of getting accepted at the University of South Carolina.
According to a Clemson University Police report, officers were notified at around 12:20 p.m. Wednesday that a bear had been seen in the Bryan Circle area of campus.
“All available units went to the area to attempt to locate the bear,” the report says. “Officer Smith was able to locate it behind the garage of the President’s House in the wooded area.”
“At one point the bear turned towards my direction but when it saw me, the bear ran towards the area of Calhoun Courts Apartments,” Officer Tasha Carpenter reported. “Officers on scene followed the bear and lost sight of it when it entered into the wooded area at the bridge between Calhoun Courts and Thornhill Village.”
Meanwhile, another officer received a report of a second bear in the area but wasn’t able to find it, the report says.
“It was last seen crossing near (the) Clemson House possibly headed in the direction of the city of Clemson,” the report says.
It apparently changed its mind and went elsewhere.
The university contacted the state Department of Natural Resources, which arrived on the scene where the first bear was seen.
A DNR official said the animal appeared to be about 2 years old and weighed about 100 pounds.
“He also said that it is currently mating season and that the berries were not quite ripe yet, so that bear is likely hungry, trying to find food,” the report says.
The DNR official on the scene told police that unless the bear threatened someone or was stuck in a tree they wouldn’t try to capture it. It most likely would return to its home, DNR told police.
Police sent out a campus alert and continued to patrol the area on foot but never saw the critter again.
Greenville News staff writer Nathaniel Cary contributed.
7 things to know about black bears in South Carolina
Numbers: In 2014 black bear sightings in South Carolina were highest in Greenville and Pickens counties. Statewide there were 222 black bear nuisance reports.
Range: There are two populations in South Carolina – the mountains and upper piedmont and the eastern upper coastal plain.
Size: Black bears are the largest land mammals living in South Carolina. Before 1959 it was illegal to kill a black bear when a season was created. Bear hunting is only legal in the mountain zone – Game Zone 1.
Age: Black bears typically live about 18 years.
Diet: 80 percent of a bear's diet is made up of nuts, berries and plants. The other 20 percent includes insects and meat.
What to do? If you see a bear, walk slowly away while making noise. Do not run.
Records: The largest black bear weighed in South Carolina was 609 pounds. A male black bear can weigh up to 350 pounds. A female can weigh as much as 250.