1010 WINS-When an Orange County, FL man noticed a 400 lb visitor in his backyard, he knew it was time to grab the camera.

Florida black bears historically range throughout most of the sunshine state and southern portions of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi — mainly in forested areas — but due to deforestation, the species has seen a recent reduction in its habitat. That means the animals are being forced to search for food in places normally reserved for humans — like backyards.

(Provided Photo: Justin Radney)

“I wanted to take the pictures to show my friends and family the sheer size of the bear and how docile he was throughout the whole ordeal,” Radney told 1010 WINS about the experience. “Many of my neighbors have said they’ve seen bears in our neighborhood before but this is my first experience, so I wanted to document it.”

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Radney made sure to maintain a safe distance between the beast, himself and his young son.

(Provided Photo: Justin Radney)

“I was never nervous for my safety or the safety of my child, we were always a good distance away and the bear never showed any signs of aggression.”

Once the bear had worn out the grass and his welcome in Radney’s garden, it moved on to drop by the neighbor’s homes, so Radney rode ahead of him to warn the neighbors as he went from house to house so they didn’t happen to open their door or garage and startle him.

(Provided Photo: Justin Radney)

“I do like bears,” says Radney. “I live across the street from a state park so it’s not unusual for something like this to occur, although it’s typically at night or early in the morning. I like to think we live in their backyard, they don’t live in ours. I’ve run the trails regularly at the state park and have seen bears there twice before and still never felt that I was in danger. I just try and stay calm and not bother it as much as possible.”

(Provided Photo: Justin Radney)

Radney has since taken his photos to the next level, hilariously photoshopping his son onto the bear for Internet giggles.

-Joe Cingrana


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