Biologists with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources set a trap on Wednesday hoping to catch a mischievous black bear that has been wreaking havoc around a home off Highway 67, south of Statesboro.
Craig Bozman told the Statesboro Herald on Wednesday that the bear has “chewed on and popped” three of his tires; turned over a cooler, scattering water bottles; and scratched on his house during the three nights — Sunday, Monday and Tuesday — the animal has frequented the man’s home.
Bozman said his wife heard scratching on the side of their house Tuesday night, and when he went outside to investigate, he found the bear in a tree in his yard. He fired a shot, and the bear took up residence in another nearby tree for a while until eventually fleeing into the woods.
DNR rangers responded to the home and saw the bear themselves Tuesday night, Bozman said.
Bozman caught the curious bear on camera and also took photos of the paw and nose prints it left behind. DNR wildlife biologist Greg Waters, of the Fitzgerald DNR office, said the photos appear to show evidence of a bear visit.
On Wednesday afternoon, rangers set a live trap at Bozman’s home, just a mile and a half south of Emit Grove Road. Waters said the bear, if caught, will be relocated.
Bulloch County Humane Enforcement supervisor Joey Sanders said an on-call humane officer received a call about the bear but deferred to responding DNR agents.
Bear sightings are not unheard of in Bulloch County, he said, referring to past sightings on Highway 80 West, Highway 67/Burkhalter Road (where a bear was hit by a car), and as recently as this spring in the Baygall Road area.
“The bear appeared to be acting very curious,” Waters said.
The shot fired by Bozman may have frightened it away for good, he said, but it’s also possible that the animal’s interest in the Bozman home may lure it back for another nighttime visit.
Waters and his colleagues estimate the bear is young, possibly a juvenile, and at most 200 pounds.
It is not uncommon for bears to migrate this time of year as they seek food sources before going into hibernation, as well as during the springtime after the hibernation period ends. The bear could be from a population near Macon or from the Ogeechee swamp, Waters said.
If you see a bear, “leave it alone,” he said. If the animal is a nuisance or causes problems, call humane enforcement or the DNR to report it, but do not feed it or approach it.
“Just enjoy the fact you got to see it,” he said.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.