Almost three years to the day, a bear surprised several customers at the Somerset Walmart SuperCenter. Black bears in Kentucky are not unheard of. The return of the black bears over the last 20 years in the Bluegrass State is a true wildlife success story. The bears were essentially eliminated from the state in the early 1900s.
Three years later bears are turning up all over Pulaski County, and are usually spotted in the front windows local resident's homes.
But this time it is not just black bears that are roaming around Pulaski County landscape. We are now seeing the large and small fluffy brown bears. Some cuddly white polar bears, dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters, have been spotted in several local subdivisions. There has also been sightings of the rare red Valentine's Day bear.
Each day, more and more bears are showing up in local resident's front windows. They have been spotted in attic windows, basement windows, upstairs windows, and some have even found their way to home's front porch.
But thankfully for the well-being of our local community, many young 'bear hunters' have taken to the streets of Somerset to pursue these cuddly creatures. Armed with rounds of laughter, giggles and smiles, the young energetic hunters meticulously look over every inch of local homes in the Somerset area to spot out the fuzzy bruins.
Sleuths of bears have been spotted in the hilly terrains of Eagle's Nest, the flat plains of Hillandale, the rolling hillside of Oaklawn, the watery region of Twin Lakes, the green pastures of Village Green, the wooded are of Maplewood, and the rugged countryside of Woods Edge.
Several young bear hunters have stood face-to-face with the wooly creatures in their stalking pursuits of the soft animals.
Three-year-old Ryder Pearson stated, "I enjoy hunting them, and I shoot them down with my toy gun as my mom drives me around town."
Sara Strunk reported that her young hunters spotted 57 bears during their fluffy wildlife expedition.
Eight-year-old Caleb Bryson and five-year-old Micah Bryson turned their bear hunting excursion into a scavenger hunt. The young Bryson brothers even took pictures of their plush prey and posted them on Facebook so other bear hunters could be on the lookout for the fluffy creatures.
Businesswoman Kristi Phillips warned bear hunters that the soft downy varmints could be spotted in downtown business's windows.
Nine-year-old Charlie Adams said bear hunting was a great activity to get out of the house. Charlie stated, "I am really glad this happened. It is a really good thing because who wants to be cooped up in the house all day? It is a fun way to get outside and still be safe."
Three-year-old Levi Meece and four-year old Bailey Meece recited the book verse "We're going on a bear hunt" the entire 30 minutes of their quest for the fluffy soft animals in the Oaklawn subdivision. After Bailey spotted large cream-colored bear in the front window of a white stone house, she exclaimed," Now that's what I'm talkin' about, everyone should use 10-foot tall bears."
But bear hunting is not just for the young, as Wynona Padgett accompanied he 80-year old mother on their furry grizzly search.
Even the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office is aware of the local cuddly creature infestation, as two bears were spotted in their building windows.
Frankia Colyer stated her children were too old for gong on bear hunting expeditions, but she was thankful for the young bear hunters that watched over her house. Frankia stated, "We have a bear in our window and it is fun to catch a glimpse of families finding ours, pointing, and smiling."
Each day the population of the snuggly beasts are increasing in the Pulaski County area, and local officials are asking for the help of more young bear hunters to search out the pillowy creatures.
With families around the world abiding by social distancing guidelines recommended by health experts and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials to curb the further spread of coronavirus, neighborhood "bear hunts" are becoming all the rage in some areas.
Taking a page from Michael Rosen's 1989 children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, members of a number of communities across the globe are placing teddy bears and other stuffed animals in their homes' windows to create a scavenger hunt-esque activity for kids who are stuck at home. While taking walks or drives around the neighborhood with their parents, kids in participating communities can have some fun by keeping an eye out for any number of stuffed animals that have been put on display at other houses.
People have put different bears in their windows so the neighborhood kids can get out of the house, get some fresh air, and go on a bear hunt of their own. And their parents can find their inner kid, as well.
You can also hunt in your car if you don't want to walk and just need a break from your house for a bit. Hundreds of neighborhoods are doing the same thing across the country. To join in the fun online, use #GoingOnABearHunt and post photos of your finds.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.