FWC urges Florida residents to be on the lookout for bears this fall


COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – ABC-7 viewers are spotting black bears out and about in the area rummaging around for food.

A bear nicknamed George, in Golden Gate Estates, continues to break through Todd Neiert’s fence.

“I was working out in the back and George decided to make a visit when I was on a tractor,” said Neiert.

After that encounter with George, Neiert didn’t know if he would see this bear again, until Friday.

Neiert said he checked the trail camera he put in the backyard to see what he could capture and as soon as he rolled back the footage he gasped and said “Oh my gosh!”

“He only drank on Friday. He was really thirsty then he left but low and behold Saturday night he came back and decided to take a bath,” Neiert said.

While George may be cute or even look gentle sometimes, he can be destructive.

“I realized the next morning that half my fence was down over on the other side so I spent Saturday afternoon fixing the fence and didn’t think anything about it. That night, well, he came back that Saturday night, broke through the fence again and I fixed it on Sunday,” said Neiert.

As a deterrent, Neiert bought motion sensor floodlights. Since they’ve been on there’s been no sign of George.

Wildlife experts said residents can expect to see bears like George this time of year as they prepare to hibernate.

“They are trying to get more calories every day and fatten themselves up in preparation for the longer winter,” Adam Brown, Second Officer for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservancy said.

These bears need over 20,000 calories a day, so an easy meal is going to be a target.

Brown says residents should bear-proof their homes by doing simple things like taking the trash out the morning of, rather than the night before and bringing any food such as pet food, inside.

For more information about Florida black bears, click here.


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