Emily Ellis’ stroll with her dog down Emerson Drive in Norway on Tuesday took a bear-y scary turn when she spotted a bear in a nearby field, the Lewiston Sun Journal reports.
“I was totally frozen and couldn’t move … I thought ‘OK, what should I do?” she said as the bear stared at her. “He looked at me, and I looked at him. He turned around and started to walk toward the field again. I cut our walk short, and we went home.”
The Norway sighting was among a handful of indications in central Maine that bears were hunting for food sources as spring continues to warm and natural sources are scarce. Residents near the Chesterville Wildlife Management Area in Franklin County, about 45 miles north, have filed 10 complaints about another bear that has been roaming the area for more than three weeks and has killed eight goats and destroyed three beehives. An Orrington man said he fought off a black bear that attacked his puppy in woods off of Route 1A in Dedham by sticking a finger in the bear’s eye, although that attack occurred in January 2018, when bears were forced from dens by unusually heavy rain.
According to Ellis, the bear she saw comes into the area every spring but moves along without an incident. But still, Ellis isn’t sure if she’ll chance encountering it again, she told the Sun Journal.
“I’m not sure if I’m going out again tomorrow morning, or if I’ll find a different pathway,” she said.
Bears can be dangerous, but experts offer several tips for how people should deal with them, the primary rule being: Stay away. Bear attacks on humans are rare in Maine, because both bears and humans generally prefer to avoid one another when they happen to meet. A history of Maine bear attacks indicates that hunters, campers and guides are the most typical victims in Maine.
Among the advice given by experts: remove items like bird feeders, pet food dishes and pets themselves from backyards if a bear is believed to be in the neighborhood. Garbage cans should be locked away in garages.
Last year’s count indicated that Ellsworth and Blue Hill were the areas where bear sightings were most common in Maine. Of the 38 reports the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had received by May 1, four were in Blue Hill and three were in Ellsworth. Blue Hill tied with Kennebunk for the highest number of reports in a single town. Like Ellsworth, Biddeford also recorded three nuisance bear encounters.
Watch: A bear digs into a backyard in Ellsworth