Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources provides tips if you see Black bears

Black bear with cubs. Courtesy: Forrest Hogue
Black bear with cubs. Courtesy: Forrest Hogue(Courtesy: Forrest Hogue)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:12 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:19 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has listed warnings for people to beware and be cautious around Black bears that may be around.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources says that black bears can be found in the north Georgia mountains, in central Georgia along the Ocmulgee River, in and around the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia, and occasionally in other areas.

While experts say black bears are “naturally fearful of humans,” it is still essential to be cautious and stay alert if you see one.

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“Wild black bears are naturally fearful of humans and will go out of their way to avoid people, so please do your part to help keep bears wild,” said Adam Hammond, a state bear biologist at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, here are six outdoor bear-wise tips:

  1. Stay Alert and Stay Together: Pay attention to your surroundings and stay together. Walk, hike, jog, or cycle with others when possible. Keep kids within sight and close by. Leave earbuds at home and make noise periodically so bears can avoid you.
  2. Leave No Trash or Food Scraps: Double bag your food when hiking and pack out all food and trash. Don’t burn food scraps or trash in your fire ring or grill. Leaving scraps, wrappers, or even “harmless” items like apple cores teaches bears to associate trails and campsites with food.
  3. Keep Dogs Leashed: Letting dogs chase or bark at bears is asking for trouble; don’t force a bear to defend itself. Keep your dogs leashed at all times or leave them at home.
  4. Camp Safely: Set up camp away from dense cover and natural food sources. Cook as far from your tent as possible. Do not store food, trash, clothes worn when cooking, or toiletries in your tent. Store in approved bear-resistant containers or out of sight in a locked vehicle OR suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 10 feet from any part of the tree. Local regulations vary.
  5. Know What to Do if You See a Black Bear: If you see a bear before it notices you, don’t approach. Stand still, enjoy, then quietly move away. If a bear sees you, back away slowly. Never run; running may trigger a chase response. If a bear approaches hold your ground, wave your arms, and yell “Hey Bear” until it leaves. Stay with your group. If it keeps approaching, use bear spray. If a black bear makes contact with you, do NOT play dead; fight back aggressively.
  6. Carry Bear Spray and Know How to Use It: Bear spray is proven to be the easiest and most effective way to deter a bear that threatens you. It doesn’t work like bug repellent, so never spray your tent, campsite, or belongings.

For more bear safety tips when spending time outdoors in Georgia, click here.