North Carolina Officials Warn Residents About Bears Under Their Homes

No one wants to deal with waking up a bear. Wildlife officials in North Carolina are warning residents to be aware of bears waking up under the house after their long winter nap.

Justin McVey, a district wildlife biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said in recent years, officials have noticed an uptick in bears making their winter homes under houses and decks.

“When people think of dens, they always think of caves,” McVey said. “That’s not really the case.”

He added that many bear dens can sometimes be found in crawlspaces and backyard brush piles. “When I started out here 12 years ago, I may have gotten one or two calls about it,” he said. “Now, we probably hear about 10-15 of those cases.”

Depending on the time of year, wildlife officials may need to evict the unwanted guests but they are starting to get hesitant when it comes to relocating mother bears with young cubs. Bears tend to vacate their winter dens voluntarily around late March and early April so sometimes the animals won’t actually be a bother.

“The fun part of the job is to convince a homeowner that it’s OK to have a bear under their house,” McVey said.