Bear sightings on the rise


Santa Clarita residents recently spotted a bear wandering the neighborhood at different times of the day, causing concern for families and pets.

On Sunday, around 10:20 p.m., a Stevenson Ranch resident captured video of a bear that took a stroll across their driveway.

The bear sighting occurred near the intersection of Stafford Canyon Road and Hemingway Avenue by Stevenson Ranch Elementary School.

On Monday, around 7:30 a.m., another neighbor spotted the bear near the same location.

Then, on Tuesday, around 6 a.m., a woman who was waiting for an Access Transit bus also encountered a bear at the Santa Fe Condominium complex on Del Monte Drive in Valencia.

“My cat took off and I turned to my left and the big black bear jumped over the fence towards me,” said Maureen McCorkly. “I ran away from it, but it went into the other direction. I hope I find my cat.”

McCorkly says that after placing a call to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, she found out that other people have recently seen a bear in the area.

“I’ve been living there for 32 years and never have I seen a bear in the area,” added McCorkly. “People should be notified that there’s a bear in the area and they have to catch it.”

Sheriff’s officials have received calls about the bear, but when deputies arrive to the scene, it is nowhere to be found, according to Sgt. Scott Shoemaker.

In 2017, officials warned residents of a black bear in Stevenson Ranch, but it is unknown if this is the same bear making its way through town.

Although black bear attacks are rare in California, they are typically defensive in nature because they are surprised or defending cubs, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“Injurious black bear encounters and attacks are extremely rare in California, but they have occurred,” stated Fish and Wildlife officials. “There is no single safety strategy applicable to every encounter, and bear behavior is not always predictable.”

Because of this, basic understanding of bear behavior can help keep people safe. Department of Fish and Wildlife officials offer the following tips:

  • Use a bear-proof trash container or wait to put trash out until the morning of collection day. Residents should also avoid leaving trash, groceries or animal feed in their vehicles.
  • Barbecue grills should also be kept clean and pet food should be stored indoors.
  • If you encounter a bear in your yard, slowly back away and do not approach it. If there is enough distance between you and the bear, you can encourage the bear to leave by using noise makers or blowing a whistle.
  • If a bear approaches you, make yourself look bigger by lifting and waving arms. Use noise makers, or yell at the bear, and if small children are present, keep them close to you.
  • Authorities say a bear sighting alone is not a cause for concern, but if a bear attacks a person, immediately call 9-1-1.

If a bear causes damage to your home or property, contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Regional Office at 562-598-1032.

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