Black bear sightings expand to heavily populated areas

By: Gabriel Roxas Email
By: Gabriel Roxas Email

A black bear has been sighted several times roaming throughout town in Mt. Vernon. Even police officers have seen it. Now everyone wants it found.

Ever since people in Rockcastle County began reporting black bear sightings, some folks have been getting nervous. "If we see a bear, and he's in our backyard, we're probably going to shoot it," Matthew Carte said. Carte lives right next to the city park in Mount Vernon close to where some reported seeing a bear wandering through the grass. "It's pretty dangerous especially with kids next door," Carte said, "I'm not going to just sit back and watch him go over to the park and maul a kid."

Fish & Wildlife officials say they expect to see a spike in bear sightings between late June and early July during breeding season, and they say when bears reach populated areas, it's usually because they're roaming extensively looking for breeding opportunities.

"We're not afraid," Tamria King said, "We come down here and play and have fun. King says despite the reports, she's not going to let fear keep her from taking her daughter to the park. "I'll keep her in my sight a little bit closer and keep her closer to me."

Experts point out that black bear attacks on humans are very rare. When Jordan Smith heard a report that a bear had just left his backyard, he didn't know what to think. "It was sort of exciting, but sort of scary at the same time," Smith said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says the best advice for people in the area is to avoid leaving out food or trash, and if you see a bear, keep your distance.

Fish and Wildlife officials say they plan to have investigators in Rockcastle County Tuesday to follow up on the sightings.


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