Young black bear transported to Oaky Woods

A young black bear that surprised Hogansville residents last week is now probably checking out his surroundings in the Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area south of Warner Robins.

Kristina Summers, a communications and outreach specialist with the state Department of Natural Resources, said Wednesday the 150-pound juvenile male was tranquilized and released last week in Oaky Woods.

Because of his size, wildlife officials surmise he probably got separated from his mother and was searching out territory, Summers said.

“He was probably attracted by some food or garbage and thought it would be an easy meal,” Summers said.

According to news reports, the bear got scared and went up a tree. He was in the tree for about five hours before DNR wildlife management officials were able to tranquilize him. The bear was then taken to Houston County.

“As development encroaches more on their habitat, it’ll become more common to see bears in suburban areas,” Summers said.

The Troup County area where the bear was found isn’t a normal range for him, she added.

“We prefer not to relocate them if they’re not a nuisance,” she said.

A swath of Middle Georgia bordering the Ocmulgee River, which includes Oaky Woods, is one of three wild bear ranges in the state.

Summers said she isn’t aware of any reports of people being mauled by black bears in Georgia, but she cautioned that the best thing to do is leave them alone.

“As with any wildlife, we urge people to keep their distance. Look but don’t touch,” she said.

“Pick up your garbage or your pet food and don’t give them a reason to come into your yard.”

To contact writer Jake Jacobs, call 923-6199, extension 305.