Bear sightings in East Alabama have authorities on alert


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OHATCHEE, Ala. (WIAT) – It’s not that Ohatchee Police Officer Lee Terry didn’t believe the call, he just had to see what was reported near the intersection of Middleton and Boiling Springs Roads himself.

“As I’m walking around, there he is,” Terry said, pointing at an area near a vacant home. “I’m standing there looking at him and he is looking at me.”

He was a 300-pound bear, looking back at Terry from the porch area of the home. That wasn’t all.

“The other was over at the intersection on the other side of the road, in the grassy area, looking this way,” Terry continued.

Both ran away moments after spotting Terry. The June 1st encounter is not the only in the area during the past few months. Another bear was captured on surveillance video the night of May 5th. It was at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in McClellan.

Gene McGlaughen saw two near his home a few nights ago. He’s lived in Ohatchee his entire life.

“I remember when we were younger we used to see them a good bit,” McGlaughen said. “It’s been a while,” CBS42 reporter Scott Packard asked.  “Oh, yeah, over twenty years,” McGlaughen responded.

Experts say the bears are more than likely male, traveling great distances, looking for females. Experts add the bears are not necessarily aggressive and are just as scared of you as you are of them. If you encounter one, it’s recommended you simply walk away.

“At this point we are just letting them live out their happy bear lives,” Terry said.

That’s unless they become aggressive, at which point appropriate actions will be taken.

Ohatchee Police say the bears are federally protected, so shooting them is unlawful. If you see one, they ask you to give them a call so that it can be properly documented.

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