N. Fulton homeowner captures bear -- on camera

John McCormick of Johns Creek got a shock Monday afternoon when he uploaded images from his trail camera and saw night shots of a dark, furry creature rooting around in his front yard.

“I freaked out – whoa, it’s a bear! I’ve never seen a bear before in this neighborhood – coyotes, raccoons and deer, of course, but never a bear,” said McCormick, 44, who lives on Mount Rushmore Drive in the Rivermont subdivision.

According to the ScoutGuard trail camera’s clock, the bear images were captured between 12:44 and 12:55 a.m. Saturday. They depict a young bear that very likely was the same animal reported by a number of Johns Creek residents last week.

McCormick, a Georgia sales representative for Bridgestone tires, figures the beast came through just about when a Lowcountry boil he was hosting in his back yard was winding down.

“Maybe he smelled the fish,” McCormick said. “We were probably still in the back.”

Johns Creek police reports appear to corroborate the story.

A motorist called police about 12:15 a.m. Saturday to say he saw a bear crossing the street a short distance away, at Barnwell Road and Rivermont Parkway. Earlier, about 8 p.m. Friday, police received a report of a dog chasing a bear in the 4200 block of Old Alabama Road in the nearby Country Club of the South subdivision.

The bear is believed to have wandered into the area from the west, following the Chattahoochee River upstream from Sandy Springs and Dunwoody. People from both cities called in bear sightings in recent weeks.

Johns Creek police theorize it’s a 2-year-old male seeking new territory. Its ultimate destination may be the area north of Lake Lanier, a known bear habitat.

Asked if he now had concerns for his safety, McCormick said, “I guess I’ll be more leery about what I put in the trash.”