Black Bear Sightings

Many black bears are being killed by unsuspecting motorists.

The problem of black bears on some of our roadways is common. In fact, Keith Daws was on a relaxing drive on Highway 98 returning from Apalachicola when he suddenly saw a huge black bear crossing the road.

Keith says, "He was coming from my right, coming towards the road, and I went to the left lane because it was clear. I just couldn't avoid him. He was running wide open when I first saw him."

An official with the Florida Highway Patrol says bear sightings in this part of Florida happen a lot, running back and forth from the coast to the Apalachicola National Forest.

Trooper Anthony Stone of the Florida Highway Patrol says, "From day to day I'll see two or three a week running across the road while I'm working. They're in people’s yards, even on back porches and things. We have numerous people complaining about that."

Authorities with the Fish and Wildlife Commission say with the warm temperatures, bears are beginning to roam mainly on the hunt for acorns, nuts, berries and other vegetation.

DEP Daniel Bowden with the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says, "It's getting more and more common than it has been in the past due to the fact that they cut off the hunting season for bears. They used to be able to hunt bears for a short period of time every year, but we're not allowed to hunt them in Florida anymore."

In 2002, collisions with vehicles accounted for 94 percent of known bear mortalities. Fish and Wildlife authorities say there are no documented bear attacks in Florida, but if you see a bear, leave it alone, watch it from a safe distance and let it pass, and please don't feed it!