TRAVELERS REST, S.C. — There have been at least two new bear sightings in Travelers Rest, both of which occurred on Friday of last week.
(Related on the Tribune: Black bear spotted along Swamp Rabbit Trail in Travelers Rest)
Local resident Rich Nicoloff said he was sitting on his back porch drinking coffee around 8 a.m. when the bear pictured above strolled through his back yard. Nicoloff, who lives across Geer Highway near the Ingles grocery store, was able to get the picture with his phone before the bear ambled into the woods.
And resident Brenda Frost spotted a bear, possibly the same one, on Friday as well. Frost said the animal was trying to cross Geer Hwy. near the Sunny Slopes and Grandview Cemetery area.
"He was trying to cross 276, but traffic scared him and he turned around," Frost said, adding that she was able to yell and scare the bear back into the safety of the tree line.
Although black bears are usually shy, evasive and non-aggressive toward people, biologists with the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources urge people to use common sense if they encounter one, warning that bears are wild animals and should be respected.
Residents who see a bear and would like to report the sighting to the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources can do so on the agency's web-based reporting form here. The sightings are recorded and used to aid in black bear management.
According to SCDNR officials, the mere presence of a black bear does not necessarily represent a problem. Most bears are just passing through, but if there is an easy meal to be found, they will take advantage of it.
The key to dealing with wandering bears is not giving them a reason to hang around. Removing any food source that would attract bears will greatly reduce any bear issues in residential areas. SCDNR offers these common-sense suggestions to better cope with bears:
• No feeding: A bear that becomes accustomed to having food provided is an accident waiting to happen; don't feed a bear the first time and it will likely leave the area soon.
• No garbage: Keep garbage in tightly shut or bear-proof trash cans; garbage left in the open, in an open dumpster, or in the back of a truck is an open invitation for a bear.
• Pet food storage: Store pet food properly if kept outside; put pet food in airtight storage containers and don't leave leftover food out in the open.
• Clean grills: Keep charcoal and gas grills covered and clean to keep food odors from attracting bears.
• Bird feed and feeders: If a bear starts getting into your bird feeders—and they will if given the chance—take the feeders down and put them away for a while; the bear will move on quickly. Or install the feeder on a rope or cable so it can be raised and lowered.
• Beehives: If you're going to have beehives in bear territory, protect your investment with an electric, bear-proof fence.
Neither a human fatality nor even an attack have been attributed to a black bear in South Carolina, SCDNR officials said.
Find out more about black bears in South Carolina with SCDNR's "A Homeowner's Guide Living with Bears."