It is bear season on the SouthCoast, and black bears have been seen around northern Bristol County in Mansfield and Taunton in recent days.

Black bear mating season begins in just a few weeks, and it appears this bear that has been spotted recently may be trying to get a jump of finding a mate. Either that, or he’s just looking out for something good to eat.

Taunton resident Stacy Berry caught a glimpse of the bear walking down Danforth Street, just before the Taunton State Hospital, just before 7 a.m. this morning.

Courtesy Stacy Berry
Courtesy Stacy Berry

Not only was he sauntering down the street, he was apparently quite interested in what might be over the stone wall.

Courtesy Stacy Berry
Courtesy Stacy Berry

Taunton Police posted on Facebook Wednesday night that black bears had been spotted in Norfolk in Bristol Counties, including a number of sightings in Taunton. One resident even caught a bear on video.

Earlier this week, Mansfield Police reported on Facebook a black bear sighting in the 1100-block of West Street.

At the end of April, the police also reported that residents had seen a mother bear and two baby bears in the area of Essex Street and Ware Street, near the Community Gardens.

Mansfield Police also warned residents what to do if they do encounter bears.

“If you see a black bear, do not attempt to get closer to it or interact with it,” the police wrote. “Most black bears are wary of humans, but if you find yourself outside when one approaches, clap your hands and talk loudly while slowly moving away.”

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You should also contact the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife at (508) 389-6300 (during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday). You can also contact the Mass Environmental Police 24 hours a day at (800) 632-8075).

“To discourage the bear from making a habitat of your backyard, put away pet food and bird feeders and ensure trash cans are secure,” Mansfield Police wrote. Bears are also known to be interested in backyard chickens and ducks, as well as beehives.

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