With more development and fewer forests, bears and people live together in increasingly crowded quarters. Can we all get along?

    Many hikers have some kind of bear story, but not many can top Gabe Alexander’s. Last year, the 16 year old was dragged out of his hammock by a bear and mauled severely before his father chased the bear away. The number of human-bear encounters are increasing as human development encroaches upon bear habitat. How can we safely co-exist with bears in our Blue Ridge backyard? Bear populations have rebounded in the past few decades. Should bear hunting play a role in controlling their numbers? We talk with bear hunters, wildlife officials, and law enforcement about Operation Something Bruin—a three-state sting which nabbed a widespread poaching ring but was criticized by some politicians and locals. An important long-term study is examining ways in which bears and humans can share space in the South. Our exclusive video from North Carolina’s Urban-Suburban Bear Study shows wild bears co-existing amid human development and offers hope—and helpful hints—for living amid bear country.