‘Glad I was inside:' WDFW takes calls as bears come out of hibernation, search for food

VIDEO: Increase in bear sightings

It’s that time of year when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says calls about black bear sightings start to pour in around the Puget Sound as the animals come out of hibernation and search for food.

Neighbors from Snohomish County to Fairwood have recently reported seeing bears in their yards.

Shawn Noecker lives near Bothell and said his surveillance cameras captured a black bear moving up his driveway last week, sending his dogs into a tizzy.

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“They were barking a lot at the door,” said Noecker. “So, when we went out, they took off running.”

Noecker said he’s seen coyotes and bobcats here but never, in the 13 years living at his home near 236th Street Southeast and 35th Avenue Southeast, has he seen a bear.

Noecker said he didn’t realize a bear had paid a visit to his home until he checked surveillance video. He immediately told his wife and then called the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife the next day.

“She’s like, ‘A bear?’” said Noecker. “And I’m like yeah, really, a bear.”

Fish and wildlife said it frequently take calls this time of year about black bear sightings around the Puget Sound. Another woman recently posted on Facebook about seeing a bear in her Fairwood backyard that “ripped” the family’s bird feeder off a tree.

A captain for fish and wildlife said bear sighting numbers are not compiled until the end of year but told KIRO 7 bird feeders are the No. 1 attraction for bears besides garbage.

With bears on the move, now is not the time to feed birds, according to fish and wildlife.

“I was surprised, so I was thinking; glad I was inside,” said Noecker.

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