LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - One Midlands man captured a black bear on multiple cameras, including a deer-cam and says the species is becoming more prevalent in this area.
Willie Carrion captured the photos near Lexington/Calhoun County line on hunting land off Old Sandy Run Rd. off I-26.
Justin Conley said he woke up to a surprise when he found a bear climbing up a tree in his yard this week.
"I've heard stories of bears around here, but never really seen one. I think they kind of keep to themselves mostly," Conley said.
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources say they believe a single juvenile bear is behind the sightings.
"We've been getting reports about this bear since the third week in July," said Charles Ruth, who serves as a programming coordinator for big game at SCDNR.
Ruth added that it has become common for bears in South Carolina to migrate down from upstate counties in search of water access and open space. Sometimes they migrate back to the north but not always.
"We've often wondered why there's not a small number of resident bears down there," Ruth said. "And you never know this animal may decide, 'hey - this is a great place for me to be and he may be there from now on."
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website, the black bear is native to South Carolina and is the state's largest land mammal. The preferred natural habitat is the forest, but wetlands also make good habitats for them.
Just know that black bears are adaptable, SCDNR says, and they travel based on food sources.