Bear sightings in Atlanta not uncommon during the spring

Not in Georgia.
(Photo by Todd DeFeo)

DUNWOODY, Ga. — Spring could be a good time for sighting bears – even if a visit to more traditional bear habitats isn’t on the agenda.

Young male bears typically explore areas outside their regular domain in the spring, making sightings throughout Metro Atlanta possible, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. But, if left alone, so-called “transient bears” typically return to their home turf.

“If a black bear is sighted passing through an area, the best thing to do is to leave it alone,” Georgia wildlife biologist Adam Hammond said in a news release. “Residents should maintain a safe distance from any bear and never, under any circumstances, feed a bear. Even worse, attempting to ‘tree’ or corner a bear compromises both the safety and welfare of the public and the bear.”

Black bears are the only bears in Georgia, according to the state’s DNR. To avoid a visit from a bear, officials say store garbage in the garage if necessary and keep grills and bird feeders in areas bears can’t access, and certainly don’t consider feeding a bear, as it is illegal.

In Georgia, bears are usually found in one of a few areas — the north Georgia mountains, around the Ocmulgee River in middle Georgia and in the Okefenokee Swamp in the southern part of the state. There are an estimated 5,100 bears living in the state, according wildlife officials.

For more information about black bears, visit

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