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Bear Feeding Frenzy in NW Florida
OKALOOSA COUNTY -- It's the time of year to beware of bears here in Northwest Florida.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says over the next few months bears will be in their annual feeding frenzy preparing for winter.
In Ft. Walton Beach several neighborhoods line the back gate of the Eglin Reservation and in those neighborhoods residents say they're no strangers to bear sightings.
"If you see a bear you stay out of its way," said Pat White.
Those are the words most people who live near the Eglin Reservation live by. Seeing a bear in the area happens all the time.
"The dogs go crazy and start barking at every house and when you hear the commotion you know the bears are out.," said Josh Knorr.
Josh Knorr says he hasn't seen a bear, but there are signs that they've been in his yard.
It's not uncommon for his trash can or his neighbor's trash can to be tipped over in the middle of the night and garbage eaten.
That's why he now has a lock on the bin.
Roger Thornton has lived in his home for nearly 30 years. His back yard has been ambushed by bears twice. He decided to take a class on how to live with bears provided by FWC. He says it was helpful and learned a few tricks. Like freezing his garbage before placing it on the curb.
"It's just like a piece of meat laying out. If you lay it out on top of the counter it's going to smell in a day and when you put it in the freezer its not going to smell," said Roger Thornton.
"I have never done anything like that. My trash is always up next to the house except on trash day. I try to put it out twice a week when they come," said Pat White.
Other tips to stay safe during the bear feeding frenzy. Never approach the bears and don't leave bowls of dog and cat food outside.
If you ever come in contact with a bear remember to stay calm and report that sighting to FWC.