This summer there began multiple sightings in Gwinnett County of black bears roaming around. It could well continue until November and the onset of cold weather when their hibernation cycles begin. Black bears in our part of the state typically live in the North Georgia Mountains, but searches for food sometimes lures them into the metro, where they are totally out of their natural habitats.
Bears have seemingly been showing up at random, affording brief glimpses by astonished people and then leaving before authorities can come to the scene. One report was that a bear was in the warehouse district near Jimmy Carter Boulevard and I-85 but ran into some nearby woods.
In another incident citizens called Duluth Police earlier this summer when a bear appeared in their yard off Peachtree Industrial Boulevard near Howell Ferry Road, and this one got away too. Bears love to snack, aren’t very particular and will eat many things, and this one wanted bird seed in an accessible feeder. Some-times folks who see bears don’t know what to do. A general rule is don’t panic, and calmly taking pictures from a distance may help document the sighting.
A bear sighting in Buckhead this summer showed resourceful citizens at work. Neighbors posted pic-tures on social media and notified police and the media. As a preventive measure they kept pets inside. De-partment of Natural Resources (DNR) personnel—trained to track and capture bears by humanely darting them so as to return them to the wild—professionally resolved the issue. DNR offers advice on not encouraging bears. Keep grills, pet food and bird feeders off-limits to them. Store garbage containers in enclosed areas until pick-up.
DNR also advises if you see a bear, just stay away, as they are only passing through. Never under any circumstances feed a bear. “Unless there is aggressive behavior, there is no concern for alarm,” says Ad-am Hammond, state bear biologist with the DNR Wildlife Resources Division.