Gulf Breeze neighbors cautious after spotting three bears roaming around


GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) – Several people in one neighborhood saw three bears roaming around and swimming in the bay early Wednesday morning.  

Renee Bookout’s dogs spotted the bears first from inside their home on Fairpoint Circle. She went to the window expecting to see the wildlife they normally see on the water.  

 “Something large caught my attention,” Bookout said. “It was not a large bird, not an egret, not a heron. It was a bear. Then it was two bears. Then it was three bears.” 

They were roaming around the dock and swimming in Pensacola Bay behind her house. They left tracks behind in the sand. She thinks the bears were older than cubs and thankfully she never saw a mama bear.  

“You always hear the stories about a mama bear and so that’s what really scared me and even once they sort of departed, I wasn’t quite sure how far they had gone,” Bookout said. “I walk my dogs several times a day. I put them outside unattended several times a day.” 

The irony is she just got back from a weeklong trip to Colorado. She expected to see a bear out there before she would see one here.  

“We never saw a bear while we were in Colorado and we come back here and I get three in one day which is enough for me for a couple of years,” she said. “I don’t necessarily want to see them anymore at least not that close.” 

Bookout and her neighbors say they’ll never forget the sight of the bears playing in the backyard, just having a blast.  

“It was pretty cool,” she said. “I mean they were having a doggone good time.” 

Wildlife officials remind you, if you see a bear, don’t approach it. Try your best to keep your garbage cans locked or inside the house until it’s time for pickup.  

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