• Black bear sightings reported in Gaston Co.

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - A state biologist said June begins the mating season for bears, and that's probably why two bears were spotted around High Shoals, one on a street Thursday.

    There were four other sightings in the area since last week.

    Someone driving on South Lincoln Street saw a bear walking along the road.

    The driver called 911, and the report seemed to surprise the dispatcher.

    Police said three people spotted the small bear in High Shoals.

    Dean Black was pumping gas at his service station when he saw the bear.

    He said it happened while children were headed to school.

    “School kids waiting on the bus and stuff. That could be dangerous,” Black said.

    The bear was scared off when a driver blew her horn.

    Stormie Raines said last night a big bear stepped in front of her car on Rash Road just a few miles away.

    “It looked and then it just walked away, and I just kind of set there for a minute because I didn't think there were bears anywhere around here,” Raines said.

    Wildlife officials told Channel 9 that besides the two bears in High Shoals, there was one spotted in Eastern Hickory on Wednesday morning, two in Northern Shelby on Monday and one east of Newton last week.

    "They are very mild-mannered bears. They are not out there to hurt anyone. They are merely hanging around looking for something to eat,” said North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologist Danny Ray.

    He said they want the food left outside.

    But most bears, even the larger ones, want no contact with humans.
    Police searched for the bear seen Wednesday morning but didn't find it.

    The state biologist said it has probably left the area by now.

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