Are black bears living in Walker County?
by James Phillips
May 15, 2012 | 6399 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Scott Short points to where he saw a bear-like animal in a hickory tree in his back yard. The tree has scratches up and down its trunk. At left is a file photo of a black bear. - Photo by: Melanie Patterson.
Scott Short points to where he saw a bear-like animal in a hickory tree in his back yard. The tree has scratches up and down its trunk. At left is a file photo of a black bear. - Photo by: Melanie Patterson.
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Jasper resident Scott Short said he’s concerned for the well-being of people in his neighborhood after he spotted what may have been a black bear on his property over the weekend.

Short, who lives on Cooner Road, in the far western portion of Jasper, said Monday that around noon on Saturday he saw what looked like a black bear climbing out of a large tree in his backyard.

“All I saw was the tree shaking, and my dog took off,” Short said. “I knew he was afraid of something so I kept watching the tree, and what looked like a bear climbed out of it. It happened so fast that I’m not sure it was a bear, but whatever it was — it was big.”

According to a report filed by Chuck Henderson, a patrol officer with the Jasper Police Department, Short said the creature was either a bear or a large cat. Henderson reported seeing claw marks on the tree where Short spotted the animal, and police searched a heavily wooded area around Short’s home.

Henderson mentioned in the report that he also spoke to a resident on Avery Road in Jasper, which is near Short’s property, who reported seeing a possible bear around 2 p.m. Saturday. According to the report, the resident saw a “large, black figure, he strongly believed was a black bear.”

The Jasper bear sighting is one of several in Alabama in the last year. A black bear was reported in Trussville last week. Another black bear was captured on 20th Street in Ensley last June and three weeks later a bear was spotted in Roebuck in eastern Birmingham near Don Hawkins Park.

Short said he is fearful the bear could still be in the area.

“I just want it out there so people know,” he said. “I don’t want someone’s child to get hurt because they didn’t know about it. I’m not sure if it was a bear or not, but it was big — too big to not worry about it.”