Niceville, Fla, located on Florida’s “Emerald Coast” in the Panhandle (Gulf side) is not known as a great bear viewing destination.
But on Jan. 3, a neighborhood there got a special treat seeing a hefty black bear having its choice of tasty food in the garbage.
I would have been pumped!
Seeing bears is a fairly rare experience for most of us and I would have certainly been out there with my camera at a cautious distance, but then immediately do what I could to make sure it didn’t happen again.
That means not feeding pets outside, certainly not purposely leaving food for these animals and perhaps figuring out a way to go bear proof with the garbage cans.
There’s an old saying in wildlife management that a “fed bear is a dead bear”.
What that means is bears fed around people get to comfortable and often have to be taken out. That might not sound fair but it’s the way it is.
And as much as we invest in bear awareness here, it’s better to remove a bear than have one kill a child.
People get way too comfortable around black bears. They assume because they are not grizzlies, that they are safe.
And while black bears are not as aggressive…lets says on the average, they do attack people. And in fact, most black bear attacks are predatory.
While a grizzly might whack you around because it doesn’t like you in its habitat, most black attacks are predatory. That’s why every fish and game department in bear country recommends fighting back against a black bear attack.
And those in grizzly country, recommend playing dead for grizzlies. Grizzlies might just chew on you. Almost all black bear attacks are of the predatory kind.
As these animals expand in places like Florida and my native Texas people need to be aware of this and give the bears their distance and respect. You shouldn’t be terrified if you see one but also shouldn’t treat it as you would a whitetail doe sighting.
Bears coming back is a good thing. It represents a conservation victory but the public needs to understand they are wild animals, not cartoons.
Like, I said I would have shot photo of this one too but with my 400 mm lens from a vehicle, not a cell phone at charging range. Just sayin.
These carnivores make places wilder and in this case, it added some wildness to a nice, suburban neighorhood.
Considering how crazy things are in the world right, a bear showing up in the bushes outside of my bedroom would be a welcome relief.
I would just make sure my response would be best for my family and the bear.