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Bears Spotted in Fallston, Possibly Part of Suburban Trek

Find out what to do if you see a bear.

This bear was spotted in Bel Air in 2012, when a reader submitted this photo.
This bear was spotted in Bel Air in 2012, when a reader submitted this photo.
A Fallston woman reported there have been bears around her property in the past couple of months, according to The Aegis.

Have you ever seen a bear in Bel Air? Tell us in the comments!

Teri Sigworth called police Jan. 29 when the flood lights activated at her Rochelle Drive home and she saw what she thought was a person; but when she called police, a sheriff's deputy told her the tracks were those of a bear, the newspaper reported. Bears have five toes and a foot pad.

Typically, Maryland's bear population is concentrated in Washington, Allegany, Frederick and Garrett counties, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and most stay within a 10 to 25-mile radius of where they live.

However, baby bears may roam up to 200 miles in a process called "dispersing" in which they try to find their own territory, according to natural resources officials.

Bears may pass through suburbs before settling down in more rural areas. After traveling through Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties, young bears usually settle in places with established bear populations in western Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, according to the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service.

In summer 2012, Bel Air Patch reported there were bear sightings in Darlington.

The Susquehanna River is "a great travel corridor" for wildlife, the Department of Natural Resources told The Aegis.

On Feb. 25, Sigworth's brother, who lives in Edgewood, was house-sitting for her in Fallston when he said he saw "a big old bear behind the woodpile," The Aegis reported.

If people see bears, the Maryland Wildlife and Heritage Service suggests backing away to give them plenty of space.

"A crowded bear may huff or make a woofing noise at the threat. They may also swat the ground, pop their jaws, or even bluff charge the perceived threat," according to the wildlife and heritage service.

"When a bear bluff charges, it may stop several yards or just a few feet short of the threat," the wildlife and heritage service said. "Remember not to run, as running may incite a bear’s natural 'chase reflex.' Stay calm. Remain upright and back away from the bear."

Officials also advise not making eye contact, which the bear may perceive as a threat. To scare a bear away, the Department of Natural Resources suggests making loud noises like banging pots and pans and using air horns or whistles.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources advises citizens not to feed bears, which may be looking for food during a time when their food source is scarce. Here are some tips from the department for residents:
  • Seal garbage containers.
  • Rinse garbage cans with ammonia to remove food odors.
  • Clear outdoor grills of food residue or move them inside.
  • Remove bird feeders from April through November, when bird food is readily available.
Related: Black Bear Sightings Continue in Harford County
John March 08, 2014 at 11:16 AM
But don't run to get the pots & pans! : )
David Robert Crews March 08, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Bears do have 5 toes on each of its 4 feet, but most bear tracks only contain impressions from 4 toes. I knows, because I have seen many bear tracks - long time ago - when guiding bear hunters in Northern Maine. In fact, I love having black bear (Maine only has black bears - like the rest of the east coast) I say I love seeing black bear images on clothing, but it frustrates me that printed images of bear tracks always have 5 toes. No matter how many bear tracks you see in your lifetime, only about less than 5% of them will have impressions of all 5 toes in a paw print. AND! I have seen a wild bear in the woods, that ran when it detected a whiff of me human smells, and I looked for paw prints where it had just been walking and none were seen till where the bear took off running into the woods. Wild black bears that are woods wise and healthy are extremely stealthy; they sometimes actually sort of float through the woods not leaving any tracks. Old time Mainers called them "The Ghost of the Woods." Sometimes, usually near a food source, bears will leave paw prints, scratch up tree bark with their claws, scratch their back against a tree, all to leave messages for other critters saying, "If your paws ain't as big as mine, if fur hairs off your back don't stick higher up on the scratching post tree than my hairs do, you'd better get your smaller self on out away from my food source. Or we gonna rumble!" If you web search my screen name - ursusdave - along with "black bears" - you can easily track down some of my Maine based bear stories and photos.
Skye Anderson March 08, 2014 at 02:47 PM
Tiny correction. The bears were not exactly baby bears. Baby bears are born in the latter half of January and stick close by mom for the first year, even denning with her the following winter. THEN, they disperse in their second spring so I believe you are talking about yearlings, bears about 14-15 months old.
John Cofiell March 08, 2014 at 09:05 PM
Hay hay hay. I just want a picanic basket!

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