SCDNR urges coastal counties to be “bear aware”


CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WBTW) – If you’re wondering why you’ve heard of more bear sightings across Horry County, it’s because there’s been an increase in bears along the coastal counties, according to SCDNR.

In Carolina Forest last week, a mother bear and her cubs were seen near The Orchards at the Farm neighborhood.

Real estate agent Scott Howard captured a mother bear and her three cubs making a run for it across International Drive last week.

If development continues, you could see more bears roaming around neighborhoods like The Orchards, as realtor Scott Howard watched a family of bears walk across International Drive last week.

“I was just on the way to show some property, and they just happened to run out right in front of me,” he said.

For real estate agent Scott Howard, watching a family of bears run across International Drive was unlike anything he’d ever seen.

“Right behind the mama bear were three cubs,” Howard said. “She got out in front of them, looked back behind her to make sure they were crossing the road alright.”

It’s something you don’t see everyday, but SCDNR’s David Lucas says bears in coastal counties like Horry and Georgetown are on the rise.

“The sightings in the northern coastal counties are definitely on the increase over the last decade or so,” he said.

Continuing development in neighborhoods along the Grand Strand is a main reason why bears and other forest animals are seen roaming the streets.

The main reason more bears are roaming the area is because of all the developments going up, but Howard says more developments continuing to be built is inevitable.

“We’re not going to stop building because bears need the woods,” said Howard.

SCDNR recognizes that, and they’re doing something about it.

“In the case of the bears, it’s something that the SCDNR is studying quite a lot,” said Lucas. “We keep good tabs on both our mountain bear population and our coastal bear population.”

“Their hiding places are disappearing.”

– SCott howard, sloan realty group

For now, Lucas says be bear aware. Don’t leave out food or trash, and clean your grills, because bears like barbecue, too.

“Be bear aware, and take these safety suggestions and things to heart, because the development in those counties will probably increase, and there will be some continued encroachment as more houses and developments are built,” he said.

“They got no where to go, so their hiding places are disappearing,” said Howard.

If you see a bear, don’t feed it. SCDNR says that’s illegal and you could be ticketed.

SCDNR also says they implemented hunting season for bears in the coastal counties back in 2011, in hopes of helping lower those bear population numbers.

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