Black Bears Migrating into Northern Florida

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Alford- After spending ten years traveling the world as a photographer for the US Air Force, Susan Bizaillion said not much surprised her anymore... accept the image she discovered on the game camera in her back yard.

"A full grown, you know, black bear," she said.

What's worse, was that the picture could have been a personal encounter.

"The early morning that that photo was taken on the game cam I was out roaming in the yard, I couldn't sleep. I was looking at the stars- had no idea this was just yards away from me."

Bizaillion said she had lived at Compass Lake in the Hills for 15 years and had never seen a bear, so she did some research. She discovered black bears were migrating North from the coast.

Jackson County District 4 Commissioner, Jeremy Branch said he was concerned about the issue.

"I've had some calls and complaints from citizens about bears getting into their garbage," he said. "We're going to have to do things like contact our garbage collection contractor that steps are going to have to be taken. We will need some cooperation from the citizens."

Branch also said he was working with Waste Management to get bear resistant garbage bins for residents in the area most bear sightings have occurred, southern Jackson County.

"I believe in guns and I walk with them," Bizaillion said, "but I don't walk with one large enough for a bear. But there are a lot of older retiree's in this area and they walk a lot. And they're out on golf carts. Golf carts don't got that fast and different aged people don't go that fast either."

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