The third time might be a charm, but the fourth night a male black bear visited a home near Statesboro, it meant capture.
The curious bear caused trouble as he visited Craig Bozman's Highway 67 home each night Sunday through Tuesday, but Wednesday night the 250-pound bruin's inquisitive nature led him straight into a live trap set earlier that day by Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Greg Waters.
"Around 10:30 (p.m.), my daughter heard the clanging of the trap," Bozman said.
His wife was looking at the trap with a flashlight through a window around the same time, and they realized they had caught the bear.
The juvenile black bear "chewed on and popped" three of Bozman's vehicle's tires, upset a cooler and scattered water bottles, and left behind paw and nose prints on his house and car, he said.
The third night the bear wandered onto is property, Bozman and his family took a photo of him in a tree. He fled to another tree, then into the woods after Bozman fired a shotgun into the air, he said.
Authorities including DNR rangers were called, and the rangers, who also saw the bear, decided to bring a trap Wednesday. Sure enough, the bear returned and was caught.
"The bear wasn't too happy," Bozman said. "He paced, huffed and grunted."
Waters said the bear was young and curious, and around this time of the year, bears will roam in search of food to fatten up before going into hibernation.
He said the bear was likely from either the Okeefenokee Swamp area or from a population of black bears around Macon. He and fellow DNR officers arrived in Statesboro to pick up the bear and trap around 2 a.m. Thursday morning and took the animal to be released in an undisclosed area near Macon, he said.
Bear sightings are not unheard of in Bulloch County, according to Bulloch County Humane Enforcement supervisor Joey Sanders, 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.
Waters advises leaving bears alone if they are seen and "just enjoy the fact you got to see it."
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.