When it comes to bears in South Carolina, you only have to worry about encountering one kind; the black bear. Greg Lucas with the Department of Natural Resources says you don’t need to panic.
"They’re very shy, un-aggressive animal rarely seen,” said Lucas, “You're actually pretty lucky if you get to see one."
Lucas says seeing black bears this time of year is a normal trend. There have been reports of several in the upstate in recent weeks.
"Our black bear biologist right now are getting upwards of a dozen calls a day from folks who are seeing bear,” explained Lucas.
Lucas says many people are alarmed when they see one of these bears. He says they’re just looking for food because their supply of things like berries are very limited this time of year.
"They’re seeking that food in places probably where they shouldn't,” said Lucas, “Things like bird feeders, trash, pet food left out, grills that haven't been cleaned."
If you do experience a close encounter with a black bear, Lucas says remain calm and follow these steps.
"You would just stand your ground,” said Lucas, “Walk away slowly. Don't try to approach the bear."
Lucas added the population is increasing in South Carolina, so chances are sightings will too.
Copyright 2017 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.