Black bear spotted swimming off N.C. coast

Anglers saw the bear swimming in choppy water

When Robert Sawyers of Swansboro, N.C. and his friend spotted a floating object in North Carolina’s Bogue Inlet this past Sunday, they went in for a closer look and realized it was a bear. The black bear was swimming in some pretty rough water, Sawyers said.

When the two anglers first saw the bruin, they thought it was a log or some other floating, inanimate debris. But they noticed it was a live animal as they got closer.

“My buddy thought at first it may be a wild hog. But when we passed, we discovered it was a bear. It was crazy. We had just run out the inlet looking for bait to fish for cobia. It was really rough at the time, so we were coming back through the inlet to go to calmer waters,” Sawyers told McClatchy News.

The anglers saw the animal southwest of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, in a passage between Emerald Isle and Hammocks Beach State Park, which coincidentally is also known as Bear Island. Tropical Storm Ana was pushing up the Atlantic Ocean at the time, causing rough water and rip currents in the area.

Sawyers said he hoped the bear made it to land safely. For a time, he and his friend attempted to steer the creature to the closest beach. He said they wanted to help the bear, but obviously had limited choices.

“You just don’t put a wild bear in the boat and drop it off at the island,” he said. “I hope he made it to dry land.”

Swimming deer in the ocean are slightly more common

Sawyers’ story reminded us of a trip we took with Capt. Dennis Barbour of Island Tackle & Hardware in the fall of 2015. We saw a deer swimming about 2 miles offshore of Carolina Beach. That’s a slightly more common sighting than a bear swimming in the ocean.

This story Black bear spotted swimming off N.C. coast first appeared on on May 27, 2021.

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