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Quit leaving food outside! Black bears are more active right now, and this is why

See a black bear hang out on a front porch in Carolina Forest

As black bear mating season continues through the summer months, animal sightings in the area are becoming more common. Pam Coggins of Carolina Forest has caught bears repeatedly coming onto her property.
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As black bear mating season continues through the summer months, animal sightings in the area are becoming more common. Pam Coggins of Carolina Forest has caught bears repeatedly coming onto her property.

Black bears have been spotted in many backyards and neighborhoods in Carolina Forest in Horry County as the summer months continue. Turns out, it is bear mating season, which makes bears more lively around humans.

Kayla Brantley, a wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, said bears are typically more active during their mating season.

For a bear, the prospect of finding leftover food from humans can drive them to hop fences or get close to homes.

Once the bear finds a snack in a yard, they might return to try their luck again, potentially forming a habit. Brantley said it is important to identify and remove potential bear attractants on your property.

It is especially important to avoid purposefully feeding the bears, and it’s against the law. Feeding bears will only further attract them to populated areas, which could prove dangerous to people and pets, and get you fined.

That said, if a bear has taken a liking to your trash can, pet food or even grill, it can take a about a week for the bear to change its habit after you remove the attractants, she said.

“If you remove that attractant, the bear will move on,” she said.

Pam Coggins of Carolina Forest said her security footage has caught bears on her property in the past, but she thinks this is just a part of living in a wooded area. Initially this made her nervous.

“But after reading about black bears, I saw they were more docile,” she said.

Brantley said that areas with rapid growth like Carolina Forest can displace bears, making their sightings in neighborhoods even more likely.

Typically, if you see a bear outside, stay indoors and make sure your pets are safe, she said.

Not every bear sighting needs to be called in, but letting the Department of Natural Resources know about a bear in your area can help the department decide what to do next.

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