Bear sighting “not unusual”, state official says

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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HIGHLAND, Ark. (KAIT) - A bear sighting in Sharp County caught the attention of many residents on Wednesday, Aug. 3, when it climbed a tree in a well-populated area.

Mike Gray owns the property in Highland where the curious bear made a scene.

He said it was one of the busiest days in his area he could remember.

Gray explained he received a “weird” phone call that afternoon.

“I got a phone call yesterday at the shop, and a gentleman said, ‘You’ve got a bear in your yard.’ When I got over here, sure enough, he was standing in the yard,” he said.

When Gray heard about the bear, concern sunk in for his family who was nearby at the time.

“I have two young kids. They’re my daughter’s kids, and they live with us,” he explained. “I made sure they were inside, not playing on the swings, cause you just never know what could happen.”

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, a bear sighting in the northern part of the state isn’t that weird.

Chief Communications Officer Keith Stephens said the timing would be strange normally, but the recent drought could have caused the late-year sighting.

“Since we’ve had such a bad drought and the mast crop, it’s probably pretty much gone right now. At least the soft mass. It’s not unusual for them to get out and look for other places to find an easy meal,” he said.

Stephens emphasized it’s never safe to approach a bear, especially a young one.

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