MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. - With this warmer weather, there have been several recent bear sightings across North Alabama. Morgan County sheriff's office deputies and Priceville Police said a black bear was found at a home in the Cove Creek subdivision off of Highway 67 Tuesday night.
Authorities said the person who called in the bear said they arrived home around 10 p.m. to find it eating from their garbage.
"I looked over to the right and I said, 'honey there's a bear!' I kinda screamed and he said, 'shh' very very quiet," says Teresa Begemann who witnessed a bear in her yard.
Teresa Begemann and her husband immediately called the Priceville Police.
"The first thing they said was 'stay in your car, lock the doors," says Begemann.
They quietly watched and waited in their car for an hour and a half, letting the bear do its thing.
"As soon as it saw that we were there, it just left the trash and went up the wall there. And kinda hid in the woods for a few minutes. Then he got very brave and just kept easing to the edge of the wall and then he came down a few times. We saw him put all of his paws up and stretch completely out," says Begemann.
She says her community backs up to a mountain and they are used to seeing occasional wildlife- but never expected to see a bear in their back yard.
"Never anticipated that, because you go to the Smokey Mountains and to Cades Cove and that's where you expect to see the bears, not in your back yard," says Begemann.
They contacted the Morgan County Game Warden along with law enforcement and were instructed to leave the bear alone.
"And he just went on up into the woods and we didn't see him again," says Begemann.
Begemann says from now on she'll probably look twice when getting out of her car in her driveway.
If you see a bear in your area, remain calm and don't approach the bear. Officials want to remind you that it is illegal to shoot a bear in Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has an information page for Alabama Black Bears.
If you do encounter a bear at close range:
- Do not run from the bear but back away slowly.
- Stand tall and upright.
- Avoid direct eye contact.
- Make sure the bear has a free direction to escape.
- Never purposely feed a bear.