APOPKA, Fla. - An Apopka, Florida couple said they recently had a close encounter with a black bear. Their Ring doorbell camera captured their mad dash to the house to narrowly escape the bear's grasp.
"No warning. No time to react. It just immediately started running towards us," said Jason Smith.
Jason and Rachel Smith were out in their front yard with their dog around 9:30 Tuesday night. Before going out, they said they checked for bears.
"It’s not uncommon. We’ve all witnessed the bears over the years that we’ve lived there," said Jason.
This time things were different as a black bear emerged from the side of a neighbor’s car and came right for them.
"I threw my arms up in the air and yelling at the top of my lungs. I’m trying to make myself big and scary, but he’s not stopping," said Jason.
Once inside, the bear disappeared but not for long. Soon after, he was back on their front porch taking another look.
"We think he was a younger male just by himself," said Rachel Smith. "He was getting my neighbor's trash we found out later."
The near-miss has gotten a lot of attention online – more than they ever expected. They said going forward they might try to stick to the backyard to avoid another close call.
"We are going to get some more lighting in our backyard. That’s why we don’t typically let the dog out in the backyard at night," said Jason.
The Smiths have contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to let them know of the incident. They said the FWC will be out soon to take a look, although the Smiths said they don’t want anything to happen to the bear.
Last month, FOX 35 reported a similar incident in Apopka.
David Bass and his wife were leaving the house when a bear rounded the corner near their driveway and chased them back inside.
Several nuisance bears have been reported around Central Florida lately. In some cases, people have been injured by the wild animals.
A pair of Christmas Day bears were seen at a front door of a home in Sanford and two bear attacks occurred in one week in Volusia County in January.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) says it receives up to 6,000 bear-related calls a year and has documented only 15 incidents of people being moderately-to-seriously injured in more than 50 years.
FWC advises the following:
- To reduce human-bear conflicts, remove or secure all food attractants from around your house and yard, including garbage, pet food, and birdseed.
- To avoid an encounter between a bear and your dog, bang on your door and flip your house lights on and off to give the bear time to leave the area before letting your dog out.
- If your dog and a bear get into a fight, make noise and use your bear spray or a water hose if available.
- If the bear makes contact with you, fight back aggressively.
Contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) if you feel threatened by a bear; observe a sick, injured, dead or orphaned bear; or to report someone who is either harming bears or intentionally feeding them. To learn more about bears and how to avoid conflicts with them, visit MyFWC.com/Bear or BearWise.org.