Golden Gate bear sightings on the rise

Posted at 10:37 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 22:37:26-05
It's not out of the ordinary to see bears roaming in Florida neighborhoods, but some residents in Golden Gate say they've had a few too many close encounters.
"It was a mother, and there were at least two cubs.  There were several times were we had 3 or 4 at a time," said Adam Reynolds.
He was talking about an evening almost a year ago, when his family spotted the family of bears from their roof. The animals were tipping over trash cans in the driveway.
This isn't the first time he's been up close and personal with these bears.
"We were out here had a garage sale once, sitting right over here on a couch we didn't sell, and right along the tree line, here comes a bear, walking comfortably, we come over to it and say hey, hey."
Reynolds is concerned for the safety of his two girls. He won't let them play outside anymore.
A few houses down LaMorris Cook and his dad saw a bear in this tree recently.
He remembers a year-and-a-half ago one of his neighbors having their dog nearly snatched by a bear.
"We got two dogs of our own too, and they like to go in their yard, they like to wander off, so sometimes we get scared because we take them out at night, and we don't want them to get snatched up or anything."
The Reynolds' think they've tried everything to keep the bears away, but nothing is stopping the bears from rummaging through their trash.  
They say the state-sanctioned bear hunt back in October hasn't helped much either.
Cook is resigned to sharing his backyard with the bears.
"This is their home, this is their nature, you really can't do nothing about it."
There isn't much the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission can do about these bears either.
According to its website, the agency won't relocate nuisance bears to the wild, because typically they return to the original area they were in or somewhere else.
It is also illegal for anyone to move, harass or kill these bears.
To report a nuisance bear, call 888-404-FWCC.