The Transylvania Times -

By Kevin Fuller
Staff Writer 

Deputy Shoots Aggressive Bear In Lake Toxaway - Brevard NC


Last updated 6/6/2016 at 5:09pm

A Transylvania County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a mother black bear after it became aggressive toward two Lake Toxaway residents last month, leaving three small cubs as orphans.

Sheriff David Mahoney said a deputy was dispatched to a private residence in Lake Toxaway just before 9 p.m. on May 23 to reports of an aggressive bear.

A Lake Toxaway security guard was originally dispatched and upon arrival attempted to scare the bear away — to no avail. The security guard then contacted the sheriff’s office.

“It was trying to make entry into an occupied entrance,” Mahoney said of the bear.

According to Mahoney, the residents, whose names were not released, were storing salmon in the garage at the residence. It appeared the bear was trying to gain entry into the garage.

A Facebook post made by Terri Nichols, who appears to be the Lake Toxaway resident involved in the incident, described the situation.

The post read: “When I looked out the window I saw the bear ripping the weather stripping from the bottom of the garage door. I banged on the window and yelled, “Go Away.”

Nichols said the bear weighed about 250 pounds and was undeterred by efforts to shoo the bear from the property.

Both Mahoney’s and Nichols’ accounts of what happened next are similar. Both parties said the bear disappeared, appearing to go up a tree, and then came back, forcing the security guard into his truck.

When the deputy arrived, he attempted to scare the bear away with sirens, lights and an air horn, Mahoney said.

The bear became more aggressive while standing next to a tree. The officer was forced to shoot the bear with a long rifle, Mahoney said.

“We didn’t have any other choice at that point than to shoot and kill the bear,” he said.

After the bear was killed, those on scene noticed there were three small cubs in the tree next to where the bear was shot.

Mahoney said the deputy, nor the security guard, realized the mother was only acting aggressively to protect her cubs.

The deputy then contacted N.C. Wildlife Commission officials, who came to retrieve the bear’s body and check on the cubs.

Mike Carraway, regional supervisor with the mountain region of the N.C. Wildlife Commission, said he didn’t blame the deputy because he couldn’t have known the cubs were in the tree.

“We’re still trying to catch the cubs,” Carraway said.

As of this morning, one of the three cubs, a 12-pound female, had been captured, and two were still on the loose.

According to Carraway, the commission captures small bears left without a mother and rehabilitates them in a state facility for about a year until they can be released on their own.

The bears will be isolated from human contact and socialized with other bears.

The rehabilitation center is funded by the state, he said.

Carraway urged residents to avoid creating a situation that attracts bears.

He said people should dispose of food properly.

If a member of the public encounters an aggressive bear, they should call 911.


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