Did you hear about this? On Saturday Morning, (6/16), a Black Bear was spotted by a Hoover couple in their backyard.

Jaime Riddle told WBRC Fox 6 News, "We just saw this black bent over object coming towards us. I'm sure our eyes got this big and I looked at my wife and said it's a bear.”  Riddle further elaborated, "I looked at my wife and I said, 'Don't move,' and we just froze. We just turned to watch him, I guess go up about 35 feet into the woods. He stayed there for an hour and a half. He just looked at us he entire time. He kept his eye on us and we kept our eye on him.”  For more on this story read HERE

So, are Bear Sightings really that common in Alabama? The answer is YES!

According to biologists at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the number of reported bear sightings in Alabama DOUBLED from 2014 to 2015, and then increased ANOTHER 50 percent in 2016, with about 150 sightings reported to the department last year. And those are just the REPORTED sightings. Many times they're not being reported because the bear sightings are becoming more frequent, according to wildlife experts.

Fortunately, there are no reports of a bear attacking a person in Alabama, according to The ADCNR. However, even though it's still considered rare, there is a very good possibility that black bears may have set foot in Tuscaloosa County on more than one occasion.

So, what should you do if you ever encounter a bear? Check out these tips that the ADCNR has on their Website:

  • Do not be frightened.
  • Do not approach the animal.
  • Do not run from the bear; back away slowly.
  • Stand tall and upright and make loud noises.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the bear.
  • Make sure the bear has an unobstructed direction to escape.
  • Never purposely feed a bear.
  • Never approach a bear with cubs; this will provoke an attack.

Please keep these tips in mind, to help make a possible encounter with a Bear a little more BEARable.