FWC educating Florida residents on tips to deter bear encounters

Central Florida is no stranger to bear sightings and encounters, and it shouldn't come as a shock. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the largest concentration of bears comes from the Ocala National Forest and St. Johns River basin.

With the help of home cameras, you're seeing more encounters, but bears have been around Central Florida for a while. FWC said it wants to educate people on things to do to help better understand bears, and ways to deter them from continuing to come into our neighborhoods.

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If you have any dog food outside, bring it inside. The same goes for bird feeders. If you use a grill, clean those too. The smoke can attract bears to be curious. Most importantly, make sure your trash is secured.

Statewide numbers show about 40% of bear calls are just general interaction calls, while 30% of calls are about bears being in their garage.

FWC said if you see a bear in a neighborhood, clear the area, and allow bears to find their way out. They will likely come down or out on their own when it's clear and dark.