‘Bearly’ noticed

Black bears spotted in Fox Run, Fort West subdivisions, Choto area; fence climbed

No lions or tigers — but bears? Oh my!

Bears have been spotted both inside Town limits and on the outskirts of Farragut in recent weeks, with residents in Fort West, Walnut Grove, Fox Run, Brandywine Farms, Heron’s Pointe — and on roadways in between — reporting seeing the animals wandering and foraging for food.

Monica Ordone of Fox Run said she and her family were outside in the yard of their home Sunday, May 22, searching for fireflies when her daughter spotted one.

“She said she saw a bear, and at first I didn’t believe it,” said Ordone, whose cul-de-sac home backs up to a portion of Farragut’s walking trail. “Then, we saw it, and I took a picture from our deck.

“It wasn’t scary — he just stood there and looked at us,” she added.

Thursday, May 26, Ordone reported seeing what is believed to be the same bear, which has been sighted by four residents on her street in a three-day time frame. The bear had been seen attempting to access bird feeders and had apparently knocked over trash cans.

Ordone said she called Tennessee Wildlife Resources Management for advice.

“The woman I talked to said they could smell an M&M from a mile away, and that if they do find a food source, it can take up to two weeks (for bears) to move on.”

Jeanette Valliere of Heron’s Pointe near Choto shared some up-close photos on Nextdoor and with farragutpress of a bear that climbed over her backyard fence Wednesday, May 25.

“It has been spotted a few times in this area (Choto Road/Harvey Road) for about a week according to a neighbor,” Valliere said. “Right after it left my yard and crossed to a neighbor’s lawn.

“It’s ‘wake up from hibernation and eat a lot’ time, so I’m not surprised all the bird feeders, and likely trash cans, are being pillaged,” she added.

Dan Gibbs, Black Bear Program coordinator for TWRA, said while it may seem “unusual” to see bears this time of year, “it isn’t.

“Seeing a bear is really no big deal,” he added. “It’s springtime and their natural foods are fairly limited right now, so young males wander a lot from their normal locations, in this case, the Great Smoky Mountains and the South Cherokee Forest area.

Visiting bearwise.org, a TWRA website, residents get information on deterring:

“Never approach or feed bears, secure garbage and recycling bins and remove bird feeders when bears are active,” Gibbs said.

“We tell people to keep their distance and yell at them, or throw rocks to let them know where not to be. We don’t want (bears) to have a pleasurable experience and want to stay.”