A momma black bear with her two cubs under O'Neill Williams cabin.

Momma black bear and her two cubs under O’Neill’s cabin.

My little studio office from where we transmit the live “O’Neill Outside” radio show down to WSB in Atlanta is in our bottom-floor basement below the main floor of the cabin.

When having Wi-Fi tune-up and maintenance from time to time, the local telephone guy has to work from there out to the wiring connections under the porch above.

About the first of February or so, he was visiting and making a few adjustments outside the back door of the office. He exited to begin his work then popped back in rather wide-eyed and a bit excited.

“O’Neill, did you know you have a bear under your porch?” It was an unusual statement while returning. Matter of fact, I’ve never been told that before.

Well, this immediately required a brief inspection. A flashlight-aided view revealed a female black bear huddled behind a concrete wall and under the planking of the porch. So, whataya do? I chose nothing in the short term. It did not appear that the Wi-Fi work would be encumbered, so he proceeded with his work and exited.

VIDEO: Momma-babyBears-ONeill-Spring2023

I placed a small battery-powered motion-activated camera about 10 feet away and pointed it in her direction. We see her almost daily moving around but never over 2 or 3 feet from a sitting position. Since that day sometime in February, she has not exited her little ‘den.’ With some effort and patience, I can see through the porch boards that she’s still there with two babies. Well, they were babies, now I’d call them cubs.

She looks up through the board spacing and gives me the ‘eye’ and snorts a quiet ‘warning.’ Not thinking that they represent a threat to us or our property, I telephoned the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for advice. They visited, confirmed the bear’s presence, and advised as best they could, that no action would be the best action and that our bears would likely leave in April.

Sure enough, the sow and two cubs ambled out late in the afternoon of April 10, surveyed the area around our house and have not been seen since.

Mountain life is unusual and can be exciting.