Wildlife officers battling Chatsworth bear problems - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wildlife officers battling Chatsworth bear problems

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CHATSWORTH, GA. (WRCB) - A family of bears is making its way from yard to yard, even some area schools, in Chatsworth, which is scaring hundreds of residents.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources says a momma bear and her two cubs have been very active in neighborhoods around Chatsworth for ten to 12 days now. Attempts to chase them out of town aren't working and they say they need residents' help.

"Met the mother bear face-to-face in front of my trash can," Chatsworth resident Willard Ballew says.

Chatsworth resident Willard Ballew says the three bears have visited his house a few times in the last week.

"From here to the wood line on the hill they had food strewn all the way up through there," Ballew says.

First they got in his trash, then upgraded to the tastier stuff inside his garage.

"Refrigerator was pulled out," Ballew says.

"There was some frozen dinners, some frozen sausage, just some frozen meats and everything was pretty well cleaned out," Ballew says.

Wildlife officers say the bears are traveling a one mile radius with around 200 homes and near Chatsworth Elementary and the Boys & Girls Club, which are keeping kids indoors.

They say it's an unusual sight in the city, especially this time of year and for so long.

"We don't have a deadline of time we're looking at," DNR Officer Brent Womack says.

They've set up traps, but that method isn't working.

"The bear is not going to have much interest in a trap if he's able to go anywhere and grab a bite to eat," Womack says.

Willard Ballew learned the hard way to keep the trash hidden until pickup and keep the garage closed, but wildlife officers say until everyone catches onto that, the bears will stay. They're also shooting the bears with rubber bullets.

"It's also more of a bad experience from the bear to try to haze it and get it to go on," Womack says.

He says they won't use tranquilizer darts unless the bears start showing aggression.

"The chemicals we're using are not something you want to play with. You can't dart a bear in just any situation. It's got to be a perfect setup," Womack says.

DNR Officers say bears are naturally afraid of humans and dogs and likely won't attack.

They say if you're confronted with one, make loud noises and keep a distance.

They're asking residents not to call and report any more sightings. Only call if the bears try to get in your home or show aggression.

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