Aberdeen has a beary special visitor

Published: May. 27, 2020 at 7:02 PM CDT
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Bear sightings aren't common in northeast South Dakota, but a family living a few miles west of Aberdeen had an encounter early Tuesday morning.

"It's pretty exciting because we don't see bears around here. it's a little out of the ordinary," said Sheryl Erickson, the woman who spotted the bear.

Sheryl Erickson was doing yard work around 7:15 when her animals started acting out of character.

"The dogs started barking kind of viciously, louder and more growling than they would normally at somebody coming in the yard," Erickson said.

That caught Sheryl's attention.

"I looked up toward the house, and I saw some motion, something leaving the yard," Erickson said.

That motion was not what Erickson expected, it was a bear passing through their land.

"The first thing I did was call Allen and say we have a bear in the yard and I took a video of him going up the hill," Erickson said.

Erickson then reached out to the Game, Fish, and Parks Department in Aberdeen. In instances such as these the Department does what it can to help.

"We'll try to get and do a sight visit, and see if we can see the animal itself, or find tracks, so we'll investigate," said Jacquie Ermer, a Regional Terrestrial Resources Supervisor with the Game, Fish, and Parks Department.

Jacquie Ermer with the GF&P says sightings such as these are very rare in this area.

"We are probably getting about a report a year that's confirmed," Ermer said.

As rare as they may be, Erickson's main concern was the animals, but after watching the bear leave, she feels confident the animals are safe.

"Not a concern. I'm assuming he has moved on," Erickson said.

If anybody does come in contact with a bear, they can reach out to the nearest Game, Fish, and Parks Department. The Department does keep track of all reported bear encounters.