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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Black bear sightings are common around North Carolina. Several people have spotted them in Madison over the past month.   

“I just feel nervous to go outside now,” said Liz Wilkins, who lives near recently-discovered bear tracks. Wilkins has lived in the town for more than 50 years. 

She’s never once seen or heard about a black bear in her neighborhood until now.  

“I’m outside all day long working in my flowers, in my yard, painting and things like that and it scared me,” she said. “It makes me worried now to go outside.” 

Madison Animal Control received a call about a black bear cub near West Academy Street in between Benjamin Road and Summit Street on June 23. Officers investigated and kept track of the sighting.

“Animal control ride up and down the road several times looking,” Wilkins said. “I knew something was wrong.” 

Two other sightings were reported weeks before to animal control and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. A report details one large black bear that was seen around the historic Citizens Cemetery near Cure Drive. 

While animal control monitors any bear activity, Wilkins is not taking chances.  

“I’m always looking around to see something strange, a bear or something like that,” she said. 

Her 7-year-old dog named Spud keeps her company when she goes outside. 

“He’s out there with me to protect me,” Wilkins said. “I’m always looking around where I didn’t before.” 

There are ways to deter black bears from your property. N.C. Extension Wildlife Biologist Falyn Owens recommends keeping your garbage can covered and only take out the trash on pickup days. She said to keep an eye on your bird feeder and pet’s food too. 

Owens told FOX8 if you do encounter a bear, stay away and make loud noises if it gets too close. That will usually scare them off.