Black Bears in Seminole County
Posted on: 8/28/2012
Black Bears have been spotted in Seminole County. Are these animals a threat? Seeing a wild black bear is an exciting and memorable experience. When visiting, recreating or living in or near black bear country, it is always important to be aware that you may encounter a bear at any time. Most conflicts between people and black bears are the result of people approaching and feeding bears, or allowing a bear to obtain garbage and pet/livestock feeds. Learning the appropriate safety techniques will minimize the possibility of an encounter.
You are responsible for your safety and the safety of the bears. Please help keep our black bears wild by not approaching or feeding them.
Protecting yourself and your home:
- If cooking outdoors, never store food outside of your home.
- Keep a clean yard, porch, and picnic area by properly disposing of garbage and wiping down table tops.
- Avoid taking odorous foods (they attract bears) and keep food smells off your clothing.
- Place garbage inside a garage until collection day.
- Bears may be active at any time of the day or night, but they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. Plan any hiking accordingly and stay on established trails.
- Leave your dog or cat inside, unless you can carefully monitor the pet. Pets and bears don't mix.
If you encounter a bear:
- Remain calm and avoid sudden movements.
- Give the bear plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. Every bear has a zone of danger or personal space -- that is, the distance within which a bear feels threatened. If it changes its natural behavior (feeding, foraging or movement) because of your presence, you are too close. If you stray within that comfort zone, a bear may react aggressively in the form of a bluff charge, bodily contact, or even an outright attack.
- If you spot a bear and the bear is unaware of you, detour quickly and quietly away.
- If spotted by a bear, try to get its attention while it is a good distance away. Help the bear to recognize that you are human, by talking to it in a normal voice or waving your arms. If a bear cannot tell what you are, it may come closer or stand on its hind legs to get a better look or smell. A standing bear is usually curious, not threatening.
- Some bears will bluff their way out of a threatening situation by charging, then veering off or stopping abruptly at the last second. Bear experts generally recommend standing still until the bear stops and then slowly backing away.
- Never run from a bear. Running may elicit a chase from an otherwise non-aggressive bear, and since they can run faster than 30 mph, you have no chance of outrunning them.
- Never feed or toss food to a black bear.
- Climbing a tree to avoid bears is popular advice but not very practical in many circumstances. All black bears can climb trees. Running to a tree may provoke an otherwise uncertain bear to chase you.
- Throw something onto the ground (like a camera) if the bear pursues you, as it may be distracted by this and allow you to escape.
- If you carry pepper spray, be sure that you have trained with it before trusting it during an attack.