Bear sighting in Walton County? Maybe, maybe not

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Black bear. Photo credit: Morguefile

There has been some chatter on social media about the possibility of a black bear sighting in Walton County, or more specifically “somewhere near to Cedar Ridge.” However, no official confirmation can be found of it and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Social Circle say they have not had any report of a bear being seen in Walton County at this time.

“I don’t recall hearing about one in Monroe/Walton County – however, it is not out of the realm of possibility,” said Melissa Cummings, communication and outreach specialist for the Georgia DNR. “They do move around quite a bit between spring/summer.”

If you believe you have seen a bear, or something that may look like a bear, please let the Georgia DNR, and us, know about it. Some of the responses on social media have mentioned the possibility of it being more likely to be a large black hog.

But just in case there indeed was a sighting, and a bear could be wandering the woods around Cedar Ridge in Walton County, Cummings gave some information on what to do in the event you happen to encounter one.

“This time of year is not necessarily a surprise to see bears outside of their traditional range (i.e. North Georgia mountain area). In the spring/summer, most bears encountered outside of established range are young male bears looking for their own territory as they are no longer under the protection of a sow (i.e. the “mother” bear).  If left alone, bears typically will return to established bear range,” Cummings said. “If you see one – the BEST thing people can do is to ensure that there is no available attractants (i.e. things the bear would consider “food” – trash, pet food, bird seed, etc.) in their yard/their neighbor’s yard, etc.”

Here are additional suggestions (http://bearwise.org/bear-safety-tips/ ). If no food is in the area, the bear will continue to move back to more appropriate habitat. If people want to report a sighting, they can contact their nearby Ga DNR Wildlife Resources Division Game Management Office (phone numbers found here: https://georgiawildlife.com/about/contact#gm )

Following is some additional good bear information.

 

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