SCDNR: Bear population increasing in SC; bear roadkill increasing along Upstate roads

Bear roadkill increases along Upstate roads. (Courtesy: David Campbell)

On several occasions when David Campbell went to take out his trash, he noticed something strange.

"Something kept turning the trash can over even after putting rocks in it," Campbell said.

A wooded area backs up to his home in Seneca. He and his family own more than 120 acres of the land.

They had some squirrelly neighbors, who had burglarized the trash can in his backyard before, but this time seemed different.

"It's not the first time we've seen them here," Campbell said. "We knew something pretty big was doing it, plus it kept rooting up the yard."

He caught the bandit on a deer cam, which was a black beer walking around the property.

"It seems like every year, it's more and more coming out," Campbell said.

According to a report by a Clemson University Wildlife professor, the black bear population is increasing in South Carolina. There have been reports of black bears in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties.

Brian Medlin said he saw four of them in Pickens County while he was hunting deer a few weeks ago. He captured the action on camera near Mile Creek Park:

Greg Lucas, who works with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said with the increase of black bears comes the increase of bears on the road.

"We have seen you know the bear harvest in those hunting seasons have gone up pretty dramatically in the last 20 years," Lucas said. "So, we're starting to see more bear-vehicle collisions. They're still not anywhere as prevalent as deer," Lucas said.

Last year, drivers hit and killed 20 bears along Upstate roads.

"When you're on a rural road at night it's not a good idea to be flying down the highway," Lucas said.

Those with DNR say bears are traveling for food, crossing highways, and living as our neighbors.

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