Residents report bear sightings in Sylacauga


SYLACAUGA, Ala (WIAT) — Sylacauga Police have started getting calls about bear sightings. 

From late spring to early summer, young male black bears appear in central Alabama looking for new territory. 

Christopher Curry says he spotted a bear early Thursday morning while he was out smoking a cigarette. 

“I thought, ‘man that’s a pretty big dog!’ But then I looked at it again and said, ‘that ain’t no dog, it’s a bear,” Curry explained.

Curry said it was around 1:30 a.m when he saw a bear go through the alleyway.

“I knew if you make some noise they’ll be startled and move away,” said Curry.

That’s exactly what Jerry Fincher, with Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries said to do.

“Should you encounter a bear, don’t run. Don’t scream. Slowly raise your arms above your head to appear bigger than you are,” Fincher said. “Walk backwards or really slowly and speak in a low even tone. The worst thing you could do is run. He’ll go on his way.”

Sergeant Fincher said these bears are nothing to be scared of, but there are ways to make sure they don’t bother you. He said to make sure you don’t leave your garbage out and keep any food sources away for the next month. 

“They’re shy, timid animals. If you don’t poke the bear, chances are really good he won’t poke at you,” said Fincher. 

In fact, if you see one, Sergeant Fincher said you’re lucky.

“Consider yourself privileged if you see one. You have seen one of Alabama’s rarest animals,” said Fincher.

Sergeant Fincher said it is illegal in the state of Alabama to hunt bears. 

To report a bear sighting, go to

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