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Black bear spotted in neighborhood: ‘He just ripped down the bird feeder’

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HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Several people have reported seeing an unexpected guest in their backyard this weekend in Mechanicsville.

Joan Stimeare Bowles and her husband also had a run-in with a bear when it chowed down at their bird feeder very close to their deck Saturday evening.

"My husband spotted it first and called me to come look at what was in our yard. He sounded panicked. He was getting ready to let our chihuahua out when he saw the cat drawn back and looking strange," Bowles wrote.

While her husband called 911, Bowles grabbed her phone and started recording video of the close encounter.

Bear in Mechanicsville (SOURCE: Joan Stimeare Bowles)

Bear in Mechanicsville (SOURCE: Joan Stimeare Bowles)

"Yes, there's a black bear outside my house," her husband tells the dispatcher. "Yeah, weirdest thing. He just ripped down the bird feeder."

Bowles said the animal rain into the woods towards the BJ's store when authorities arrived.

"He came back through and then ran in the woods towards our neighbor's house," she said "The police had gotten a rifle out of their car but, didn't shoot at it."

Black bear (SOURCE: Rob Rea)

Black bear in backyard (SOURCE: Rob Rea)

Rob Rea also posted photos on Facebook after a black bear wandered into his brother's yard Saturday morning.

His friend called WTVR CBS 6 saying there had been multiple bear sightings at the Mill Trace Apartments on Cold Harbor Road near the Cold Harbor Battlefield Park.

Rea said there were also sightings in a neighborhood near Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center on Atlee Road.

Official: Bear weighs around 100 pounds

An official with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said he had been inundated with bear sighting calls Saturday.

He estimated the juvenile male bear weighs around 100 pounds and is s likely hitting garbage cans, beehives and squirrel feeders for food.

He said this is the time of year when teenage bears are looking for their own territory after separating from their mothers.

He stressed that the bear is just as scared of people – as people are of it. Do not approach the bear and it will be on its way, he said.

Additionally, it is a good idea to remove anything that might attract a bear, like open garbage cans, pet food or bird feed.

Bear relocated to mountains

Earlier this month, a bear had to be rescued from a tree after crews shot it with a tranquilizer dart in the Great Oaks Subdivision in Chesterfield County .

"I've been working for 36 years and we've never had anything like this," Lt. Bobby Burnette of Chesterfield Fire and Rescue said.

District Wildlife Biologist Aaron Proctor helped relocate the bear to a safer environment.

"Think of them as a teenage bear," Proctor said, "He's looking to find his own territory, his mom has kicked him out, trying to find his own home range, trying to find food, and it's mating season as well."

That bear was taken to the western part of the state and released in the mountains.

Teen catches bear crossing field 

Christine Marie‎ said her 14-year-old son, Brandon Rubcobo, captured video of a bear crossing Cedar Lane is Ashland on May 18 around 6 p.m.

At one point the bear stops running through a field and looks over at the boys recording the video.

"God, he sees us," Brandon said. "He's like, 'I don't care.'"

Have you seen any bears where you live? If you do,  and can do so safely, shoot a photo or video and send it to CBS 6. Click the "submit your photo" button on this story. You can also upload photos to our Facebook page or email pics@wtvr.com from your phone.

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