Last June, a resident of the Cain Crossing neighborhood, located near Clements Ferry Road and Highway 41, saw a bear from inside her home in the street and also exploring near her porch.
Days later, more black bear sightings occurred at Spring Hollow Drive in the Marshes at Cooper River neighborhood, also located off of Clements Ferry Road, and in the Rivertown neighborhood off of Highway 41 in Mount Pleasant.
As spring emerges for 2021, so are the bears emerging from hibernation.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the American black bear can be found in the Francis Marion and Sumter national forests. Black bears are usually shy, evasive, and non-aggressive toward people, but they can become a problem if proper precautions aren’t taken.
During this time, bears are looking for easy food located in the coastal plains and piedmont areas of South Carolina. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) wants to remind South Carolinians to secure food attractants such as garbage, bird feeders, and pet food to prevent bears from stopping by. The most common human-bear conflicts involve unsecured food.
The mere presence of a black bear does not necessarily represent a problem. Most bears are just passing through, but if there is an easy meal, they will take advantage of it.
The key to dealing with wandering bears is not giving them a reason to hang around. Removing any food source that would attract bears will significantly reduce any bear issues in residential areas.
SCDNR offers these suggestions to better coexist with bears:
• Bird feed and feeders: If a bear starts getting into your bird feeders, take the feeders down and put them away for a while; the bear will move on quickly.
• No garbage: Keep garbage in tightly shut or bear-proof trash cans. Garbage left in the open, in an open dumpster, or in the back of a truck is an open invitation for a bear.
• Pet food storage: Store pet food properly if kept outside. Put pet food in airtight storage containers, and don’t leave leftover food out in the open.
• Clean grills: Keep charcoal and gas grills covered and clean to keep food odors from attracting bears.
• Beehives: If you’re going to have beehives in bear territory, protect your investment with an electric, bear-proof fence.
• No feeding: A bear that becomes accustomed to having food provided is an accident waiting to happen. Feeding bears promote nuisance behavior.
• Keep wildlife wild: Never approach a bear for any reason, especially for a photo. Bears can defend themselves. Give bears their space and they will move on.
If you are camping in bear territory, follow these guidelines:
• Keep a clean camp at all times. Keep tents and sleeping bags free of food.
• Hang all food, trash, and other odorous items well away from camp and at least 10 feet above ground and 4 feet from any vertical support, or store in a bear-proof container.
While it may be exciting to see a bear, remember they are wild animals and should be respected.
You can report a bear sighting at dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/bear/sightingform.html.
For black bear emergencies, please call 1-800-922-5431 or 911.