When Owings Mills resident Kayan Jones received an alert on her phone from her home’s Nest security camera that there had been “Activity or Animal seen,” she expected to see a fox, deer or raccoon.
But when Jones checked the history log, she was met with a surprise: a black bear cub moving across her patio.
“I was in shock and almost thought I was dreaming,” Jones said.
The bear was caught on two residents’ security cameras, including Jones’s, overnight on Tuesday near Owings Mills Boulevard.
According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, black bears are typically found in the western counties such as Frederick, Garrett, Washington, and Allegany counties. So, this sighting in Baltimore County is less common.
“There’s no resident bear population [in Baltimore County] but late spring, early summer bears disperse,” Jim Bennett, a biologist with DNR, said. “They may go wandering looking for a new place to call home. So it’s more common for them to be sighted, but it’s still not common.”
If you do encounter a bear, Bennett has some advice.
“Never approach or feed them,” he said. “Leave it alone, slowly back away, make sure it knows you’re there, but give it a place to leave. Don’t make it feel cornered and give it a way out. They may go up a tree and stay there for hours if they feel threatened or get scared.”
The footage on Jones’s security camera shows the bear sniffing and searching for food.
To avoid the risk of a bear visiting your yard, keep trash secure, keep barbecue grills clean, and do not leave pet food outside.
Bears are generally not aggressive but their sense of smell is seven times stronger than a bloodhound’s.
To report bear-related emergencies call 410-260-8888 or contact your local Department of Natural Resources office.