South Carolina’s black bear population starts making its appearance in the spring. As the weather turns warmer in the state, bears begin wandering out of their winter dens and start searching for food.
SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) spokesman Brett Witt says as people continue to build more into bear habitat, there may be more bear and human contact.
More houses mean more encroachment and therefore mister bear is going to end up finding your bird feeder, or your trash can and so forth.
Witt reminds South Carolina residents that it’s illegal to feed bears and violations are punishable by a $500 fine or 30 days in jail. He also says wild bears are usually not a threat to humans. However, he adds the bear may lose its natural fear of man if food is involved.
They tend to be skittish of human beings unless they get acclimated with food,and that’s obviously not something we want to encourage. We don’t want bears to see people and associate people with food. That’s typically a bad idea.
Witt says black bears have been sighted in 45 of the 46 counties in the state of South Carolina, although they are primarily in the Lowcountry and the Upstate. “What I can tell you is that the odds of you having problems with a bear is virtually zero.”