ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Neighbors in Julington Creek went about their workouts Wednesday, barely aware a bear had been spotted in their neighborhood. Startled walker Teresa Corbin said, "Okay, thanks for the heads up. I'm turning around."
St. Johns County deputies told us it looked like the bear was about 300 pounds. Sightings were reported at a Shell Station on Racetrack Road and at two local schools, Julington Creek Elementary and Fruit Cove Middle School.
Concerned father Lynn McGill said, "I mean, it's a big concern if we got bears roaming the neighborhoods and kids out playing. I would image any parent out there should be concerned."
This is the second bear sighting this week in St. Johns County. A black bear was captured on home video by a homeowner off County Road 210.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, bear sightings are common this time of year. It's mating season. And their look for love brings them out of the woods and into our neighborhoods.
Cyclist Phillip Ritzert said, "I'm not too nervous about it, so." And you shouldn't be, according to the FWC. They say the best thing you can do is keep bear bait out of your yard. And by bear bait, they mean trash cans full of food scraps. Other than that, they suggest you keep your distance and remember, bears live here too.
Wildlife officials say wild black bears are not generally a threat to humans. They're actually afraid of humans, and will avoid them, if possible. They say you should never corner a bear or block it in. Don't chase it or corral it. The bear will find its way back to the woods where it belongs.
The FWC doesn't usually catch or relocate bears, unless they become a nuisance. If that happens, you can call the FWC Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
You can also learn more about living with black bears by going to www.MyFWC.com/Bear