200-pound black bear spotted in SC town, trees before disappeari - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

200-pound black bear spotted in SC town, trees before disappearing

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Photo of black bear in a tree in Kershaw, SC (Photo courtesy: SCDNR) Photo of black bear in a tree in Kershaw, SC (Photo courtesy: SCDNR)
KERSHAW, SC (WBTV) -

State officials are searching for a nearly 200-pound black bear after it appeared in a Lancaster County town, even being spotted in a tree.

According to officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the nearly 200-pound male bear was seen walking around the town of Kershaw on Friday morning.

DNR officials say they've never seen a black bear in the town before. 

At one point the bear was able to climb a tree, but he was able to get out of the tree before officials could tranquilize him. 

Officials say the bear wandered into the woods where they lost sight of it.  They're hopeful the bear will move on and find another place to live.

With a population of fewer than 2,000 people, the bear was the talk of the town.

Eleven-year-old Carter Baytes had a front row seat to the action and couldn't believe his eyes.

"So what do you know - there's a big black bear walking around in our yard," he said. "The bear is like right there in our walkway... wow!"

Officials say the bear spent his morning in a tree near Baytes' house off Sumter Street

"I've seen a bear before, but that's mountains," said Kershaw resident Andrew Allen. "But you're talking about in town and that makes it a little more interesting."

First Sergeant Shean Coates with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says he's worked this area for the past 12 years and it is his first sighting, too.

"It's very unusual. We've had more calls in the last year or so about bear sightings or possible bear sightings from hunters that are seeing them on their trail cams," Coates said. "We're getting these calls and this is the second bear we've had confirmation of."

The bear left a trail of great photos and broke a fence on his path through town.

"I think it's kinda cool," Allen said. "More publicity for Kershaw to know we have a beautiful animal running around."

DNR officials say bears are very territorial and it is possible this one got pushed out of his area.

Wildlife officers say the bear didn't hurt anyone, but warn that you should never go near a wild animal and if the bear becomes a nuisance, they'll put out a trap.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. CN2 contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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