Bear sightings spike continues, one near middle school

They are curious creatures and while black bears are known to live in the Western and Eastern part of the Tarheel State, it's rare to see a bear in the southern part of the the piedmont.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - They are curious creatures and while black bears are known to live in the Western and Eastern part of the Tarheel State, it's rare to see a bear in the southern part of the Piedmont.

"I've never seen you're talking about, a bear," said Mount Holly resident, Larry Holcomb. "But it wouldn't surprise me."

If Larry had driven around the corner from his house on Tuesday night, it's possible that he would have seen a black bear.

A post on Facebook said two bears were spotted in Mount Holly and three weeks ago, a bear was seen roaming in Union County before being hit by a car on the interstate.

"They are transient bears, most likely," says Danny Ray, a district biologist for the Wildlife Resources Commission. He says the spike in sightings could be due to a spike in hormones.

"June is the peak of breeding season for bears," says Ray.

Bear encounters are on the rise across the state. In Asheville, the U.S. Forest Service is ordering anyone with 1,000 feet of Avery Creek Road to store food in a bear-resistant canister. A violation could land you a hefty fine.

Ray says never feed a bear and if you have any outdoor food sources like pet food, trash, or a bird feeder then remove those items immediately if a bear is suspected to be in the area.

Outside of being a nuisance, black bears rarely get aggressive.

"They act more like a stray dog than that of a vicious, wild animal."

Additionally on Tuesday night, a confirmed sighting of a bear near Francis Bradley Middle School in Huntersville.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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