LAKE JAMES, N.C. - A Burke County woman claims she recently had a close encounter with a black bear while she practiced yoga near Lake James.
Kristen Jones said she was doing yoga, facing the lake with her ear buds in when the bear came up behind her and sniffed and licked her before walking away.
Jones said that she was sitting next to the water watching the sunrise when she felt something sniff at her neck and then lick the bottom part of her ear.
Press "PLAY" to see Jones' raw video:
Thinking it was her neighbor’s dog, she said she reached up with her right arm to hug the animal, and startled it.
As she turned to look at it and say hello she realized it was a bear.
Jones said the animal had already turned away and started up the hill before she was able to snap off some photos and shoot a quick video.
"Hey bear, where are you going?” she said after the encounter. “You just scared the (expletive) out of me."
In a Facebook comment, Jones said “I realize many of you find this untrue. Honestly, I don't care. I've never been more scared in my life or felt more vulnerable and pray I never experience anything like that again.”
After calling neighbors, Jones said the same bear apparently has been spotted in the area over the last 48 hours in people's trash cans and on their decks.
Mary Ellen Smith says the same bear ended up on her back deck where it ate her bird food.
"I have a heart condition and I told my surgeon if I didn't have a heart attack then it must not be as bad as they thought it was," Smith said.
Wildlife officers are encouraging residents to keep their trash cans secure and not to leave any pet food outside.
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