SCDNR offers tips on keeping bears away after getting numerous complaints in multiple Upstate counties

Bear in Westminster. (Source: Diana Turner)

South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources said their officers are getting numerous calls about bears showing up in most of the northern portions of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville counties this season.

Diana Turner, 71, lives in Westminster and said she has been very concerned after seeing bears in her yard on multiple occasions. She said has small dogs and is afraid the animals may hurt her pets.

PHOTOS - Bears visit back yards in Westminster

Greg Lucas, a spokesman for SC DNR, said people concerned about the furry visitors can take steps to keep the animals away.

“Many residents from neighborhoods where the bears are being reported are refusing to remove bird feeders and other sources of food, and that is causing bears to hang around,” Lucas said.

SCDNR offered these suggestions to better cope with bears: Bird feed and feeders: If a bear starts getting into your bird feeders—and they will if given the chance—take the feeders down and put them away for a while; the bear will move on quickly. No garbage: Keep garbage in tightly shut or bear-proof trash cans; garbage left in the open, in an open dumpster, or in the back of a truck is an open invitation for a bear. Pet food storage: Store pet food properly if kept outside; put pet food in airtight storage containers and don't leave leftover food out in the open. Clean grills: Keep charcoal and gas grills covered and clean to keep food odors from attracting bears. Beehives: If you're going to have beehives in bear territory, protect your investment with an electric, bear-proof fence. No feeding: A bear that becomes accustomed to having food provided is an accident waiting to happen; don't feed a bear the first time and it will likely leave the area soon.MORE NEWS - Sheriff: Man shot dead after trying to sexually assault estranged wife, pointing crossbow at deputies

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