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Reports of Black Bear Sightings Continue

News Editor

Photo courtesy of Tim and Rena Mills – On June 3, the Mills family captured this photo of a black bear wandering next to Scenic Highway near the flight park.

Reports of black bear sightings in and around Dade County have spread over the last several weeks. Some of the sighting locations include Ider and Henager in Alabama; Slyo Ridge Road and Pope Creek Road in Wildwood, Ga; Scenic Highway near the flight park and New Salem on Lookout Mountain, Ga.

Locals have been capturing photos and videos of the bears, and the animals have also shown up on trail and security cameras.

According to Kyle Faulkner, game warden with the Department of Natural Resources, “This time of year, black bears are out moving around, looking for food, and more folks are getting out and about, especially at Cloudland Canyon. The black bear population is growing a little bit, and we are seeing more bears in Walker and Dade.”

He noted that bear hunting season is closed at the moment but will open again in the fall. “The population size gives more folks the opportunity to bear hunt.”

Adam Hammond, the state bear biologist with DNR, explained that Georgia has three distinct bear populations, each with different characteristics and trends: North Georgia, Central Georgia, and South Georgia (in the Okefenokee Swamp).

Hammond said, “Our goal in North Georgia is to slow the growth and stabilize the population.” A PDF of DNR’s “Strategic Management Plan for Black Bears in Georgia (2019-2028)” is available online for anyone interested in population management.

Faulkner explained that black bears shy away from humans, saying, “They’re kind of skittish animals. If they have any interaction with humans, they’ll try to go the other way. The only reason they’d attack is if you aggravate them or if they have cubs around.”

He added, “If you see a black bear, obviously don’t approach it. Don’t pick up cubs. Don’t feed the bear or it’ll start coming around populated areas.”

DNR encourages residents to be aware of garbage, dog food, bird seed, and gardens that could attract bears. Faulkner said, “Bears are scavengers. If you leave trash outside, a bear is more than likely going to get into it. Keep it put up and cleaned up. If you have dog food outside, bring it inside.”

Hammond added, “We do have occasional conflicts between bears and people. For the most part, issues come from human-provided food. We just ask people to be diligent and act preemptively so bears don’t have access to free food.”

He referred people to for more information about living alongside bears.

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