Resident spots black bear in Apison
on the furry black heels of a warning this month from Tennessee wildlife officials about bears in the Chattanooga region, a lone black bear was spied Tuesday morning in the area of Apison Elementary School in eastern Hamilton County.
The bear was seen around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in a homeowner’s backyard off of East Brainerd Road. The resident photographed it and reported the animal to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency before it left. The resident asked not to be named.
A TWRA dispatcher said the bear was among a number of wildlife sightings reported early Tuesday after heavy storms thundered through the area Monday. Many species of wildlife, like bears, are on the move looking for food at this point in the year.
The bear had not caused any damage, officials said.
When they connect humans to a food source, bears can be dangerous, TWRA spokeswoman Mime Barnes said. Homeowners should be vigilant in limiting bear attractants on their property, she said.
The spot where the bear was sighted has a large wooded area to the west and a series of wooded areas lying to the east and south where homes are spaced well apart. The terrain becomes more rugged farther south into Georgia, while it gives way to a patchwork of fields farther east, along the Tennessee-Georgia
On black bear habitat maps, the animal’s range extends across the Chattanooga region westward from the Cherokee National Forest and Blue Ridge Mountains past the Alabama state line.
Homeowners who live near bear habitat should be wary of any activities that could attract dangerous wildlife, officials said.
Gardening and grilling activities can offer bears easy fodder, as can bird feeders, trash, bird baths and pet food bowls with leftover food, officials said.
Officials say never feed bears no matter where they are encountered, because bears accustomed to food provided by humans are easily conditioned and pose a greater threat.
To report a potentially dangerous bear in Southeast Tennessee, contact the TWRA’s Region III office at 800-241-0767. In North Georgia, call the Department of Natural Resources at 770-918-6416.
An Apison-area reader who asked not to be named shot this photo early Tuesday of a black bear in her back yard near Apison Elementary School.