Shasta County bear sightings prompt warnings

Sep 8, 2014 8:36 PM by Charlene Cheng

Here in the North State, black bears are a common sight for cameras set up by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"People do see bears in residential areas, particularly in the west side of Redding, and areas like Lakehead near Shasta Lake on a regular basis, so they do get close to people and people's homes fairly frequently," said Pete Figura, an environmental scientist with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

This time of the year, they feast mostly on berries, but the current drought could be responsible for a shortage, forcing the bears to forage for human food.

"It certainly may modify their behaviors, just if plant growth or water is different in a different location," Figura said.

Over the weekend, Shasta County Sheriff's Deputies had a sighting near Bridge Bay Marina.

They say that it's rare that bears will venture so close to human-populated areas.

"It was about approximately 15 feet away from the dock when deputies responded, and we basically shooed the bear clear across the lake to the north side of the lake," Deputy Ray Hughes said.

Pat Malone, who's visiting Lake Shasta for the day, says that they're common in his native city of Victoria in British Columbia.

"Up where we come from, when it gets really dry, they come out of the hills they come down looking for food, that's probably why it is, there's probably not as much food out there," he said.

Wildlife officials say that black bears tend to run away from people, but still, it doesn't hurt to hide away any food, and to keep some safety tips in mind.

"Be as tall as you can, don't turn your back, make a lot of noise, throw things if you can, and if you do happen to be attacked, you do want to fight back," Figura said.


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