Hardesty, who works in Muskogee, said he has heard others say bears have been seen in the area.
He set up trail cameras by hanging them on trees near deer feeders. One day a camera was swatted and took photos of the ground. Another day a corn feeder was smashed and 60 pounds of corn eaten. Two cameras have been bent and broken.
The cameras captured black bear photos June 24 and July 10.
Don't feed the bears
Hardesty said he has stopped putting out corn.
“They'll stay around as long as you feed them,” he said.
Craig Endicott, a state game warden in Cherokee County, said bears were rarely seen there until recent years.
“It's kind of new for us to see them up here,” Endicott said. “Leave them alone and move away from them. Typically a black bear is not aggressive but once it is gone, remove the lure that attracted it to the area.”