Bear killed on highway in Zebulon

Posted May 25, 2011

— A bear found dead along U.S. Highway 64 in Zebulon early Wednesday was likely struck and killed by a vehicle overnight, police said.

A man driving along U.S. 64 East called 911 around 6:30 a.m. about the 125-pound, 2-year-old male bear near North Arendell Avenue, Lt. Robert Grossman said. North Carolina wildlife officers disposed of the carcass.

Police don't know who hit the bear but found part of a headlight at the scene. If identified, the driver wouldn't face charges.

Witnesses also called 911 around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to report a bear running along the fence of property near U.S. 64, Grossman said. The bear was last seen running across the highway into the woods on the other side.

The bear was the talk of the town at Andrew's Barber Shop in Zebulon.

"I'm just curious how they are coming around or what's bringing them out," barber Andrew Armstrong said.

Zebulon latest to see bear Zebulon latest to see bear

Mother bears kick young males out of the den in the late spring to avoid inbreeding, forcing them to find their own range, said Greg Batts, a biologist with the state Wildlife Resources Commission.

"That's what this bear has probably been doing, just been wandering around looking for a place to live," Batts said.

People at the Eclectic Intellectual coffee and food shop also wondered if the bear was the same one spotted roaming around Garner, Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill over the past week.

"I was trying to figure out if it's the same one or if it's a bunch of them," Eclectic Intellectual owner Sana Hussain said.

Batts said he has no way to know if the bear that died is the same one spotted elsewhere in the Triangle.

He does believe that a single bear was spotted in Garner, Raleigh and Cary. That animal might have come from Benson, where a bear was seen on May 16, and traveled parallel to Interstate 40. Other bears could have followed rivers south from Virginia or come from North Carolina's coast or mountains.

Young bears are always on the move this time of year, looking for food and mates, Batts said. Male bears have ranges of about 70 square miles and can travel 10 to 12 miles a day.

"This state is growing at a really fast pace, so there is just about nowhere they can go in central North Carolina that they don't run into a city or town," Batts said.

Wildlife officials said that anyone who sees a bear should leave it alone and call authorities to report it.

People in areas where bears have been seen should be careful about not leaving their trash out overnight. Instead, put the trash out the morning of the day it's picked up.

Bear sightings

View Triangle bear sightings in a larger map

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  • VoiceMatters May 25, 2011

    Yes, poor bear indeed, but as one person wrote, "...we have to share the land with the wild."--Yes, we should be kind (respect)all the wild aimals in OUR state, meaning not go up to them and try to pet them, but instead assist the poor displaced animals and not be terrified of them by acting like angry mobs wanting the wild dead. Comon.

  • fayncmike May 25, 2011

    "Not if it was a tractor trailer that hit the bear. There would probably be basically no damage. And since the bear was on the side of the road, that means it was probably just barely hit a died on the side of the road. It probably ran into the side of a tractor trailer or was just grazed by a front fender. At 70mph that is going to kill something and not necessarily cause $500 of damage">

    That's not quite right. Last year one of our Peterbilts hit a deer at only about 45MPH and the truck had over $1,500.00 in damage. Maybe, years ago, what you say is true but I can assure you that new semis are no more robust than new cars. The factory "bumper" costs $1,200.00 and is nothing but a piece of plastic. Of course we replaced it with an after market steel bumper which only cost $429.00.

  • sallyowens76 May 25, 2011

    Next time a bear come this far from a natural habitat, can't the zoo or vet school help find it a home? Zoos often get aanimals from each other by sale or trade. Now is a good time to get a pair of bears together to breed them in June. Next year a baby bear will join them. If nothing else, can't the wildlife be anesthetized and tagged so the animal population be tracked more easily? Having wildlife roaming lose without food is dangerous to people, animals, and vehicles.

  • rlee1117 May 25, 2011

    where in this area is the trash pick up everyday? I really don't know where these people get the ideas of not putting you trash out till the day it's picked up.I hate to be living in your house pal!

  • soberatlast May 25, 2011

    How does someone hit a 125 lb animal and not it?

  • CrewMax May 25, 2011

    When bears come of age, they have to leave and find their own territory. A male bear will range about 5 miles if the pickings are good. If a young male enters that area, daddy bear will tune him up, so, spring sees the young ones on the move, looking for a range. Just the bear facts

  • CrewMax May 25, 2011

    I ate some bear stew a couple of years ago. Well, I tasted it. I was delicious, I must say, however, I couldn't get the Boo Boo image out of my head. But, it was better than beef.

  • shortcake53 May 25, 2011

    I grew up in Virginia's mountains, and it was nothing to see a bear walking down the road toward our bus stop. We just went in a neighbors house till it walked on by.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 25, 2011

    "so sad for the bear. I wonder what will happen when we use up all the oil, and land, where will we go"

    Geez. I doubt you would have the same heartfelt passion for some stranger that just lost their job and couldn't pay their mortgage. I wonder what will happen once all of his money is used up? Where will he go? Sad that many people put animals above humans. They are below us on the food chain. They are our dinner. Geez!

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT May 25, 2011

    Why has a dead bear story been a Top Article ALL day? Where's the controversy. A bear died. Sooo??? Animals die on the roads every hour. We scoop them up and move on. They don't make the news. I understand its a little unusual for a bear to be local. But it does happen. Dead bear. Nothing to see here. Move on.