A Shocking Find
SPRUCE PINE – When Betty Stafford performed her morning ritual of checking her back-porch bird feeders around 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 16, at her house on Oakdale Drive, she noticed her schnauzer mix, Jack, was acting oddly.
“He just kept barking at the tree,” Stafford said. “I didn’t think much of it because Jack’s old and really can’t see or hear too good.”
Upon further observation, Stafford finally saw what had Jack in such a frenzy. A roughly 300-pound adult black bear was resting in a tree about 20 feet from her back porch.
“I sure didn’t expect to see a bear in the tree,” she said. “I called Mitchell County Animal Rescue and they told me to bring my bird feeders in, so I did. I then called my daughter’s boyfriend to come over and help me deal with it.”
Mark Franklin made the drive from his home on Fork Mountain Road and the bear was still in the tree.
“If we don’t bother it, it won’t bother anybody,” Franklin said. “Unless a black bear feels its cubs are threatened, from what know from dealing with them they won’t really do anything.”
Jodie Owen of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said as the state’s population increases, interactions with bears are rising across North Carolina.
“The best thing to do is just stay away and it will eventually leave,” she said. “In situations like this one, it’s best to just remain calm.”
Owen urges anyone who comes in close contact with a bear or any other type of wildlife to call the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission’s Wildlife Interactions free hotline at 1-866-318-2401.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I call the Wildlife Resources Commission, will someone trap and relocate a bear?
No – that would simply move the problem, rather than solve it, and there are no remote places to move bears where they won’t come into contact with people.
What should I do if I see a bear?
Try to stay calm. Bears are usually wary of people unless humans feed or provoke them. Never feed, approach, surround or corner the bear. If it changes its natural
Will a black bear attack me?
Probably not. Black bears tend to be shy and non-aggressive toward humans. There has not been an unprovoked bear attack in North Carolina. If frequently fed, however, bears may become dependent on human foods, which may lead to increased interaction with people. Frequent human-bear contact can cause bears to become more bold and visible around humans.