In Cumming, Several Close Encounters Of The Bear Kind

4:14 PM, Jul 2, 2010   |    comments
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A file photo of a black bear.

Every year the swallows return to Capistrano California.
And every year the buzzards return to Hinckley Ohio.
And now...the black bears are returning to....Cumming, Georgia?
The Georgia Department of Natural Resources reports several recent sightings in the Cumming area.

It's amazing to those who don't know this area, that less than an hour north of Atlanta you have this.

"We've seen coyotes" said Cumming resident Ruth Richardson. "We've seen fox...raccoon...possum."

But during eleven years of living on the shores of Lake Lanier Ruth Richardson had never seen a bear.

"I'm very cautious when I go out in the yard now" she said.

Until about a week ago, when she was to a neighbor's house to make sure everything was okay.

"Part way up the driveway, I stopped and thought,'Oh, Lord! She put more yard art out" Mrs. Richardson recalled. "But then it started moving."

Ruth watched as the bear emptied a bird feeder and then disappeared into the nearby woods.
She drove home to call her son in Montana and tell him.

"And while I was talking with him" she said, "it came in our yard."

A bear Ruth's husband estimated to be over six feet tall and three hundred pounds wandered through their yard....and came close.

"And it was right next to the grandchildren's picnic table" she said. "Just staring in the door...right at me."

The Richardson's had called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources who said, as long as the bear was not aggressive---and it wasn't---they wouldn't bother it.

Wildlife experts say the increase in bear activity in the Cumming area is probably due to the destruction of their natural habitat and the search for food.

"Needless to say, I was a bit nervous", she said.

The Richardson's are concerned about pets...and grandchildren...and campers in the nearby campground.

"And my son said just whistle or sing, you know, make a little noise. They won't bother you."

So if you're visiting Ruth Richardson and she's whistling...and talking to the birds...immediately drop your blueberries...and get back in your car.


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