TWRA biologist shares tips after bear and two cubs spotted in Bradley County
Some in Bradley County got quite a surprise Thursday evening as a momma bear and two cubs were seen on the shore of a pond on Highway 64 and Kisner Road.
"There was a momma bear and at least two baby bears right along the water's edge," said Steve Hunt, owner of Ocoee Winery.
Hunt has owned the Ocoee Winery for 14 years and he had never seen a bear come that far down Highway 64.
"I mean it was a real surprise, especially a momma bear," said Hunt, "It was quite a show, we don't have shows like that out here very often."
Dan Gibbs, a wildlife biologist with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, says fall is the time of the year when bears are trying to fatten up.
"Preparing for fall hibernation, so they're in search for food and they're looking for a lot of it," said Gibbs.
Dog food, trash, birdseed could all be things bringing bears closer to people, but Gibbs says just because they're around, it's not an invitation to go up to the bear.
"You know enjoy seeing the bear, but don't get to close to it. Certainly don't offer it food, we wouldn't want to see anyone get any closer than 50 yards," said Gibbs.
Gibbs says if the bear is in a residential area, scare it off from a safe distance, bang pots and pans, yell at it, or throw some rocks, so the bear will have a negative experience around people.
Hunt says Bradley County deputies used that approach by making some noise to get the bears further away from the road.
"Two or three of them turned on their sirens at least, it might have been all of them and they ran off into the woods," said Gibbs.
But if the bear gets closer to people than it should, it's time to make a call.
"We want to know about when bears are acting in an aggressive manner and when they've gotten into someone's vehicle or a home or something like that," said Gibbs.
If you're worried about bears coming on your property or what to do when you encounter a bear, click here for more information.