What do I do if I see a bear?

          
 

   Photo credit: Brian Swartz

Bears live in many North Carolina counties, and they are not usually dangerous unless humans feed or provoke them. Enjoy this rare chance, but from a distance.

The bear in your backyard may be dispersing through your neighborhood or searching for a mate. It will not stay in a settled area unless it finds a reliable food source.

If you see a bear:

  • Try to stay calm.
    • If you are one of the lucky people to have encountered the bear, observe it at a safe distance and appreciate the opportunity to see one of North Carolina's largest native mammals.
  • Don’t run away.  Make the bear aware of your presence speaking in an assertive voice, clap your hands, wave your arms above your head to try to make yourself look bigger and make a lot of noise.
  • Back up and slowly walk away.
  • Keep children nearby.
  • Keep pets locked up.
  • Don’t approach a bear.
  • Never surround or corner a bear.
  • If you happen to meet a bear at close range, back away slowly and make lots of noise.
  • Never feed bears or any wild animals, even if they look hungry or tame.
  • Take extra precautions not to feed bears accidentally —bears are attracted to garbage, food scraps, pet food and many other forms of human food. Keep such foods locked away from bears in strong, safe places.
  • Bears that wander into a residential area are sometimes frightened by dogs or residents and climb trees. Keep people away from the scene and the bear will come down and leave when it no longer feels threatened (often after dark).

Related Information

A bear in your town? Click here to find out why & how you can help!

A bear in your neighborhood? Click here for a downloadable PDF of tips on living with bears in your area.

WRC will typically not trap and relocate bears. Click here to find out why? 

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