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1/24/17- Black Bears on the Loose

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There is no greater thrill than checking a game camera after it has been in a certain spot for a few weeks. You just know that you will have a good buck or a few good bucks on it. Surprisingly, many people are pulling their cameras and to their surprise…they have a black bear!! At first it is almost unbelievable, but I have looked into it and bear sightings in Alabama are much more common than you think!

In July of last year, a former wildlife professor of mine at Auburn University shared some research with AL.com. He and his students have been conducting black bear studies around the Auburn area for six years now. They are studying this magnificent animal to learn more about black bear habitat and diversity. Some bears are collared and tracked, while others are being identified by “bear hair snares” where their hair is collected and then a lot of chemistry takes place to collect DNA for further observations. Professor Todd Steury told AL.com that bears have been sighted in many areas of central Alabama such as Pelham and Opelika. I have heard from other hunters and landowners that bears have been spotted in Saraland, Chatom, and even Mobile. Many landowners claim to have pictures of bears hanging out on their back porches, or shaking their corn feeders they have out to feed the neighborhood deer.

Steury went onto say that they believe the bears are coming from local populations around Macon, Georgia. The bears are following favorable habitat of dense forests with mature pine all the way to these areas in Alabama. According to Steury and the AL.com article, many of the bears that have been spotted are most likely juvenile males that have been run out of their territory by larger males. The solo males wander for miles and miles and miles until they find somewhere new to call home. The bears are not very intelligent nor experienced so they find no harm with coming into neighborhoods and making themselves at home. However, they are causing pandemonium in many areas and people are finding themselves in some sticky situations. Not too long ago, an area in Clarke County was claimed home by a black bear. Apparently this black bear had a nose for collard greens and decided to let himself inside and eat them straight off of the stove. Locals say you could hear the homeowner shrieking from miles away. The bear ran into the woods and keeps everyone on their toes for now!

Instances like this story are becoming more and more common. Local authorities and law enforcement ask that if a bear is spotted, please give them a call and DO NOT try to handle the situation on your own. On the bright side, convenient stores in some areas are offering bear paraphernalia so stop in and get your black bear t-shirt today!

 

Please visit http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2016/07/why_is_alabama_seeing_so_many.html to read the entire article!

By: Red Clay

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