After woman spots bear in Oakboro, how common are such sightings in Stanly County?

Published 2:36 pm Monday, July 26, 2021

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On Sunday, a woman posted a video to Facebook after she saw something most people don’t typically see everyday.

“Just saw a black bear from the front yard of my dad’s house on Hazard Road in Oakboro,” Kelly Cornett wrote, adding: “Be careful y’all.” A video has received numerous comments and been viewed more than 2,000 times. It was later reposted by the Oakboro Police Department.

In the video, which is about 40 seconds, the bear appears to be wandering along the side of the road, before casually crossing the street and quickly fading from view. Cornett kept her distance while filming the video.

The video begs the question: How common is it to spot a bear in Stanly?

“It’s not very common to see bears in the Piedmont in general, but this time of the year would be the time to see them,” said North Carolina Wildlife Enforcement Officer Darby Enoch, whose jurisdiction includes Stanly, Montgomery and Anson counties. He noted that while the mountain and coastal areas are bears’ natural habitats, they often travel during the mating season and can occasionally wind up in areas like Oakboro.

In his years working in Stanly, Enoch said bear sightings do happen, but they are rare and can fluctuate from year to year.

“I may get one or two a year and then I may go a couple of years without getting any calls about it,” he said.

If a bear is detected, Enoch encourages people to keep their distance and not do anything to excite the animal. Eventually, the bear will naturally leave the space.

“The bear’s going to move on on its own,” he said.

Other tips: Don’t leave any food sources (like dog or cat food) outside and especially make a point to stay away from a bear if it has smaller cubs around “as it’s going to be protective of its cubs.”

If people see a bear and have any issues or concerns, they can contact Enoch at 910-975-2972.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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