Black bear sightings are getting more common in populated areas around Chattooga County in northwest Georgia.
Recently, a bear was spotted off of Highway 100 and a photo of the bear was shared widely on social media. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says that while black bears have been in Northwest Georgia for many years, residents can expect more sightings as the bears are competing for space and being crowded out of more remote habitats.
Georgia DNR says the black bear is the only bear found in the state and is the most common bear in North America. Experts say thanks to wildlife practices, Georgia’s black bear population is estimated at 4,100 bears statewide. Georgia DNR says you can legally hunt black bears during hunting season in the fall. Any taking of bears during any other time of the year, or the taking of bears illegally during the hunting season, is considered poaching.
Here are some tips about black bears in Georgia:
- Never feed or approach the bears: Feeding bears (intentionally or unintentionally) trains them to approach homes and people for more food. Bears will defend themselves if a person gets too close.
- Secure food, garbage, and recycling: Food and food odors attract bears so don’t reward them with easily available food or garbage.
- Remove bird feeders when bears are normally active: Experts say birdseed and other grains have a high-calorie content making them very attractive to bears.
- Never lead pet food outdoors: Feed outdoor pets portion sizes that will be completely eaten during each meal and then remove leftover food and food bowl. Securely store these foods.
- Clean and store your grills: After you use an outdoor grill, clean it thoroughly and make sure that all grease and fat is removed.
Always stay alert and be sure to share safety information with your neighbors.
(WRGA News of Rome, GA)