Local News

Hope Mills neighborhood put on 'bear watch'

Posted May 30, 2012

— Police officers said they spotted a black bear roaming Hope Mills neighborhoods late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

At about 1 a.m., officers saw the bear in the 3500 block of Castlefield Lane, which is near Millstone 14 Movie Theater, before it climbed over a privacy fence and went into a wooded area, police said.

"The bear, while not a cub, was not a full-grown adult. (It) maybe stood about 5 feet or 6 feet high," police Capt. Joel Acciardo said.

The Castlefield neighborhood is only 3 years old, and state wildlife officers said the bear likely used to migrate through the area while heading between Rockfish Creek and other wooded areas.

"I was working in my office around 1 o'clock with all the lights on. I'm just glad the bear didn't see me," resident David Sattelmeyer said.

"I wonder what the bear was thinking when he walked through here – probably like, 'Oh, look! What's that thing?'" resident Michelle Tunstall said, pointing to a mini black bear bearing a welcome sign in her front yard.

"I think it's a little cool. I think our neighborhood will go down as the neighborhood a bear walked through," Tunstall said.

Cumberland County deputies and animal control officers later saw the bear near Sim Cotton Street and Cumberland Mills Elementary School, police said.

Bears have reared their heads around Hope Mills before, Acciardo said.

Black bear in Hope Mills Black bear spotted roaming though Hope Mills

"It's not unheard of. Bears do tend to migrate along the creeks and rivers around here, en route to their summer feeding grounds," he said. “In previous instances, they’ve never stayed longer than three or four days max.”

So, police put the neighborhood on "bear watch," and officers went door to door to pass out lists of do's and don'ts to residents. Residents were urged to call 911 if they spotted the bear again and not to try to follow it or interfere with its movement.

Other tips included look around before stepping outside at night and early in the morning and don't make sudden movements or turn your back if you encounter the bear.

"We'll be pulling guard duty tonight, keeping an eye on the neighborhood," Sattelmeyer said.

State wildlife officers said they don't plan to take any action unless the bear becomes aggressive or is otherwise endangered.


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  • amgnc07 May 31, 2012

    What do you expect when they are building so much these days. We are taking away their home!

  • fayncmike May 31, 2012

    It would be wonderful if giving a wild animal snack would domesticate them.Sadly that's nowhere near true.

  • fisunt May 31, 2012

    Sorry but you don't have to be an "expert," you don't even have to be remotely intelligent to know feeding wild animals is not ever smart. You are doing them no good at all. I have spent thousands of hours in the wild. Not talking about on my back porch either. Do you not think your skunks and foxes roam? Do you have any idea of how far they range? Any wild animal that approaches a person looking for a handout is not acting "normal," wild animals are supposed to be afraid of people. They will be mistaken for an animal that is aggressive and most likely be shot.

  • piene2 May 31, 2012

    "Well then they are no longer wild they are domesticated animals, those who feed wild animals are doing nothing but harm. Some in my neighborhood have taken to feeding the foxes too. They are no longer afraid of humans and will approach anyone. Scares the mess out of the elderly couple next to me. Now you can't tell the difference between one meaning no harm and one with rabies. They have to be put down on a regular basis.

    If you think the occasional handful of dog food will domesticate a wild animal it is obvious that you know nothing about wild animals. I suggest living among them before you claim to be some sort of expert.

  • Just Plain Common Sense May 30, 2012

    People first....bears last. Leave them alone but if it comes down to a confrontation, you can bet the bear will win unless you just get lucky All said....just be acutely aware, and careful.

  • sclobitz May 30, 2012

    hope mills & surrounding cumberland county has gone overboard with so-called "development".where once there were beautiful forests teaming with wildlife, now there's houses every few feet....i'm not against planned developement, but there needs to be a balance; leave some woods at least so the animals that were here before us have a little habitat left to survive in....!!!($$$)...

  • mmtlash May 30, 2012

    "Hope Mills neighborhood put on 'bear watch'"

    tell em to go to Flex in downtown Raleigh if they want to see bears! *chortles*

  • jackd418 May 30, 2012

    Never feed wild animals.If you do like piene2 you are another fool.When you go back to you nice little house the animals starve.

  • KnoxOverstreet III May 30, 2012

    "Hope Mills neighborhood put on 'bear watch'"

    Wonderful, now Hope Mills will be filled with gun toting Yahoos. Everyone get some white paint and paint, "This is not a bear" on everything you care about.

  • working for deadbeats May 30, 2012

    I saw a squirrel today. Crazy stuff. To think wildlife might be spotted now and then.