Billboards warn Seminole County residents about bears

If you didn’t know there were bears in Winter Springs, you do now if you drive by City Hall along 434.

Billboards about the animals recently popped up. It’s a message people who live Tuskawilla Trails across the street know well. Resident Alice Houk came face to face with a bear last week. She says it showed up while she was bringing groceries in from her car.

“I went up the stairs and when I did, my neighbors came running down hollering, ‘Ms. Alice, Ms. Alice - the bear!’ And I turned around and he was right by the bird feeder ready to take my food,” she explained.

Houk says those neighbors scared the bear away. There have been a number of sightings in the area lately, people in Winter Springs have shared photos with FOX 35 over the last few weeks. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials have handed out fliers and held meetings – the new billboards will also help get the word out.

One side says “Don’t Feed Bears – Secure Your Trash.” The other side says “Drive Alert – Florida is Bear Country.”

Winter Springs Police say they’ll also be holding another bear education meeting next week. In the meantime, Houk says she’s becoming more cautious.

“We have a cow bell so when we come home late at night we ring the cow bell before we get out of the car to scare them away,” she explained.

She says in the 20 years she’s lived in Tuskawilla Trails, she’s never dealt with anything like this before.

The bear education meeting will be held Wednesday, June 14 at the Winter Springs Senior Center. FWC says it has a bear trap out in the Tuskawilla Trails area.