Family finds black bear in front yard

LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) - Animals roaming around the Harper family isn't anything new, but there's no room for a black bear on this Loudon County farm.

Early Wednesday morning when Pat Harper walked outside to look across his yard, a black bear stared back.

"I was probably within 10-20 yards of it at the closest point," said Harper.

He's lived here with his family and pet goats, pony, chickens and donkey for more than 40 years, but he's never seen a bear this close to his home.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said it's common this time of year. Young black bears are leaving their mother and searching for food. They expect bears to make their way through neighborhoods, but they should leave just as quickly as they come unless they find food.

"You watch TV and you see where bear maul people and you're concerned, I've got a little 3-year-old grandson that lives next door," said Harper.

Harper said he watched the bear move through his yard and over the fence, where he keeps his other animals, but he kept on going without bothering any of his pets.

"That's real important to me and I don't want anything to happen to them either."

TWRA said once local berries start to ripen, we won't see as many bears in neighborhoods.

Ways they suggest keeping bears away are moving bird feeders inside, keeping trash secure and taking away outside pet food.