Wentworth residents talk about recent bear sightings

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WENTWORTH, N.C. -- The lunchtime conversation at Mom's Kitchen isn't about the menu specials. It's about the black bear that surprised a lot of people by walking through the middle of town. Dawn Ryan works at Mom's Kitchen and was outside unloading the catering truck when she saw the bear.

"A bus driver was across the street at the gas station and told us to be careful because there was a bear," Ryan said. "So I stepped out a couple of steps and saw him jump the curb and run along the side of the building and into the woods."

The same woods that are next to Lynn Nugent's office.

"I was screaming in the back for the girls and we all came out and trying to take pictures," Nugent said.

Witnesses describe the black bear as a "good-sized bear." The animal caused a lot of excitement in Wentworth. But this isn't the first time someone has seen a bear here this season. So Ryan is paying close attention to her surroundings when she goes outside.

"A little cautious when I come out to take breaks, there's lots of woods around here," Ryan said. "You never know where they are going to be hiding and looking for their next meal."

Nugent is also keeping a watchful eye.

"I am a little bit more aware when I come out the door," Nugent said.

The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office is also looking out for the bear. They are positioned at the three Wentworth schools in the morning and afternoon. Parents at Wentworth Elementary feel there is nothing wrong with being extra careful.

State biologists say bears like an easy meal. So it's a good idea to bring in pet food and lock down trash cans. If bears can't find food, they will move on.

If you see a bear, keep your distance and remain calm. The bear will probably run away from you.

For additional wildlife questions, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has a help line. Their number is (866) 318-2401.

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