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Breakfast with the bears: Mating season brings more bear sightings in Carolina Forest

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.

Carolina Forest resident Irene Howard was fixing breakfast with her grandchildren Wednesday when they saw something walking in their yard.

It was a mama bear and three cubs.

From the safety of their house, Howard scrambled to get pictures before the bears walked off. Her grandchildren were especially excited to see the wild animals right in front of them.

“They just kept talking about the bears because they hadn’t seen them before,” Howard said.

Howard and many other residents of Carolina Forest know Horry County is home to a population of the American Black Bear. Around this time every year, mating season, they are seen looking for food and often find it near homes.

The South Carolina Department of Resources says on its website that bears are opportunity feeders and will typically consume whatever they find, including food scraps in trash cans or bird feeders. Other attractants include compost piles, livestock feed or fruit bearing trees.

SCDNR recommends removing any possible bear attractants to help keep the animals away from humans. According to SCDNR expert Kayla Brantley, it’ll take about a week for the bear to change its habits after removing a food source.

Howard said the bears didn’t stop to eat on her property, they were just simply passing through. While it was exciting to see the animals, she is worried that people attracting them into their neighborhood could lead to a kid getting too close.

SCDNR does not ask residents to phone in every bear sighting unless it poses an immediate safety threat. It asks folks to stay indoors and away from the bear until it moves on from the property.

“The key to coexisting with bears is understanding and respecting them,” SCDNR’s bear guide states.

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