Officials: Acorn shortage means increased bear sightings

Officials: Acorn shortage means increased bear sightings

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SKYFOX 5 spotted a family of bears in Forsyth County on Oct. 16. SKYFOX 5 spotted a family of bears in Forsyth County on Oct. 16.
ATLANTA -

A mother bear and her three cubs created a commotion during Wednesday evening's rush hour, causing drivers to park their cars off a busy Forsyth County roadway to get a close look at the animals.

Residents walked into a wooded area off of McGinnis Ferry Road to take pictures and videos of the bears as they walked in the woods and climbed trees.

Other residents in a nearby subdivision earlier saw the bears walking down their streets.

Wildlife biologist Charlie Killmaster with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources blames in the increase in bear sightings on a shortage acorns in the mountains.

Killmaster told FOX 5's Denise Dillon, "They're looking for food.  Period."

The biologist added, "When we have a bad year like this, they can't effectively put on that weight and they start seeking other food sources."

This year's unusual weather is blamed for some uncommon wildlife sightings in the metro area.

Bears have been seen in numerous areas, including Roswell, Woodstock and Forsyth this fall.

Officials with the Department of Natural Resources say large amounts of rain from this spring and summer have stunted the growth of acorns in north Georgia, sending bears down from the mountains into the suburbs scavenging for food.

State wildlife biologist Dave McGowan says it's all a means to prepare for hibernation.

"That's one of their key food items for the fall as they are trying to put on weight for winter," McGowan said. "So that less abundant acorn crop, they are probably traveling more distance to try to find sufficient food resources."

The momma bear and her cubs definitely found some tasty snacks in a Suwanee backyard Wednesday.

Resident Mitchell Loftin said, "They were eating out of the bird feeder and they were messing around with the pole."

To prevent bears coming to your backyard, McGowan suggests removing any food sources that might attract them including bird seed, garbage, dog food and unclean barbecue grills.

Despite the temptation to take pictures or videos, McGowan wants to call authorities and keep far away if you see a bear.

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