Authorities believe lone bear spotted in multiple counties

Credit: NBC Charlotte

Authorities believe lone bear spotted in multiple counties


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on June 24, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 25 at 10:19 AM

UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- A black bear has been spotted roaming around Union County, and is believed to be the same bear caught on tape roaming Cabarrus County over the weekend.

Deputies estimate it is an adult bear weighing about 300 pounds. There are no reports of it being aggressive or attacking anyone. Authorities are not tracking the bear's movements because it has not posed a threat.

A 911 caller saw the bear around 8:15 a.m. near Haigler Road and Morgan Mill Road.

"He's trying to cross Morgan Mill," the caller said.

"He's going into a backyard right now," the caller added.

Deputies say it's likely the same bear caught on tape wandering Cabarrus County over the weekend, prompting 911 calls there, too.

They don't know why it's here, but could be looking for food, a mate or just passing through.

Davis Simpson saw the bear near Sugar and Wine Road while driving with a friend.

"It was running across the field, grassy field and pond," Simpson said.  "Just at the pond it ran into the wheat field."

"Never saw one before, not in this area," he said.

Deputies say it's the first confirmed bear sighting by them in more than four years.

Neighbors say it's stirring up excitement, not concern.

"I kinda like it, I like wildlife, wouldn't care if we had a few more," said neighbor Kenny Baucom.

"That bear is probably in Anson County by now the way he's traveling," said Simpson.

Deputies urge if you see it to just leave it alone.

The black bear population in North Carolina has grown considerably in recent decades, from less than 5,000 in 1980 to more than 17,000 in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available.