A South Carolina was startled on Saturday night when she discovered bears on her property.
Debra Patrick posted on Facebook that she saw five black bears making themselves at home on her porch.
After calling the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Upstate resident made the Facebook post to warn her neighbors on Farm Lake Road in Boiling Springs.
“Keep your animals inside,” Patrick wrote, adding the SCDNR advised her to “just let (the bears) be.”
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The SCDNR says the key to coexisting with bears is understanding and respecting them. Black bears are usually shy, evasive and non-aggressive toward people.
There has never been a human fatality or even an attack attributed to a black bear in South Carolina, the SCDNR reported.
“A wild bear is very wary of man and usually no threat at all, but a bear that has been fed can lose that natural fear,” said Jamie Dozier, unit wildlife biologist for the SCDNR based in Georgetown.
The presence of a black bear does not represent a problem, the SCDNR says. Most are just passing through, but if there is an easy meal lying around, they will take advantage of it. The key to dealing with bears is not giving them a reason to hang around.
Many of the people who commented on Patrick’s post thanked her for sharing the news, especially the pet owners. Many said they were glad to see of the bears’ presence before letting their dogs out in their yards.
Many reported hearing dogs barking, unusually agitated. A few even reported that their garbage cans had been knocked over.
One cat owner, however, was sad to have missed the bears. She said she would have thrown her cat out, “as a sacrifice.” That was punishment for “meowing and bouncing off the walls all night.”
Coping with bears
- No feeding: A bear that becomes accustomed to having food provided is an accident waiting to happen; don’t feed a bear the first time and it will likely leave the area soon.
- No garbage: Keep garbage in tightly shut or bear-proof trash cans; garbage left in the open or in the back of a truck is an open invitation for a bear.
- Pet food storage: Store pet food properly if kept outside; put pet food in airtight storage containers and don’t leave leftover food out in the open.
- Clean grills: Keep charcoal and gas grills covered and clean to keep food odors from attracting bears.
- Bird feed & feeders: If a bear starts getting into your bird feeders - and they will if given the chance - take them down and put them away for a while; the bear will move on quickly. Or install the feeder on a rope or cable so it can be raised and lowered.
- Beehives: If you’re going to have beehives in bear territory, protect your investment with an electric, bear-proof fence.