GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officials are advising residents to be prepared for bears during the fall season. FWC said fall is the time the bears start to bulk up and prepare to hibernate.
Action News uncovered there have been 12 reports of bears in Clay County within the past couple years.
The bears have been spotted in neighborhoods like one off Craven Road in Green Cove Springs.
"We've seen bears out here. We've probably seen bears ever since I've been out here 20-something years," said Allen Kudlesky.
Kudlesky has been living in the community for 27 years. He said he hasn't seen any bears recently, but has seen several in the past. Kudlesky said the bears don't scare him.
"They're docile, they see you and they're more scared of you than you are of them," said Kudlesky.
A spokesperson for Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told Action News the bears aren't really harmful but more or less hungry. FWC issued an alert today to watch out for the bears, who are fattening up for winter.
"What they're doing is going from about 5,000 calories a day to about 20,000 calories a day, they are basically obsessed with food right now," said Karen Parker.
Neighbors said they keep their trash cans behind fences so the bears roaming around the neighborhood won't get to them.
"We have regular chain-link fences, and usually they won't come through a barrier," said Kudlesky.
Kudlesky hopes the barriers will keep the bears out of his yard throughout the fall season.