Bear sightings in Raleigh: What to do if you see one

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Several bear sightings were reported in Raleigh over the last week.

On Monday around 9 a.m., a black bear was spotted in the 500 block of Lead Mine Road. Raleigh police officers saw the bear in a backyard before it ran into the field of the Elks Lodge. On Thursday around 3:15 p.m., a black bear was seen near Macon Place, just 2 miles south of the initial sighting.

Officers responded to the area but were unable to find the bear. The sighting was reported to North Carolina Wildlife. Bear tracks were located at a nearby creek.

The sightings come as a surprise to people in the area. Liz Allran lives down the street from the Lead Mine Road sighting.

“It’s scary. I wouldn’t think there would be a bear near my house in the city. You would think in the mountains maybe, but not here. I don’t want to let my dog outside in the front yard. I want him to stay in the backyard where it’s fenced in,” said Allran.

The North Raleigh resident also said she planned on being a little more guarded and vigilant when outside. She also planned on cleaning up bird feed and any trash from her backyard. These are things wildlife experts say can help keep bears away from your home.

People in the area are asked to stay bear aware. That means avoiding encounters all together but being safe if you come across one.

Bear encounters

If you encounter a bear in your yard, Bearwise suggests you make loud noises from a safe distance to scare it aware. This can be shouting or banging pots together.

Check your yard for bears before letting your dog out. Bearwise also recommends communicating with your neighbors about bear sightings and getting them to remove attractants. This can help keep bears away from your neighborhood altogether.

Always give a bear a clear escape route and never lock it in an enclosed space.

If you come across a bear in the woods, Bearwise said to move away quietly in the opposite direction. If the bear sees you, the organization says not to run because it may trigger a chase.

If a bear becomes aggressive or comes towards you:

  • Make yourself look bigger
  • Wave your arms
  • Yell
  • Intimidate it

Avoiding bears

At home, it’s best to remove bird feeders when bears are active. Bearwise says bird feed “rewards” bears for coming into your yard making it more likely they’ll return. Avoiding leaving pet food out, as well.

Clean your grills and store when possible to prevent any attraction to your yard. Avoid leaving out garbage. If not that’s not possible, secure trash and recyclables in bear-proof storage.

While hiking or walking, Bearwise recommends making noise in thick cover and keeping children close. If you have a dog with you, they said you should keep them on a leash.

Do not let dogs chase or interact with bears. Bearwise says to back away with your dog and leave the area.

While camping, do not store food in your tent or cook withing 100 yards of your tent. Bearwise recommends not sleeping in the close you wore while cooking either.

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