‘Bear hunts’ keeping Liberty County residents united, encouraged in pandemic isolation

Ian and Ryan, the sons of Pct. 3 Deputy Constable Hugh Bishop and Bonnie Bishop of Hardin, are participating in the "Going on a Bear Hunt" scavenger hunt taking place in Liberty County.

It’s bear-hunting season in Liberty County. Venture out onto any county road or street in Liberty County right now and you are likely to find bears. They are popping up in people’s homes, businesses and front yards, and hanging off gates, mailboxes and fences. Some are even decked out in bows and clothing, or are sitting in flowerbeds and wagons.

The cuddly bears are part of a trend taking place across America right now as the Coronavirus pandemic keeps people isolated from their friends and family members. Inspired by Michael Rosen’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” people are placing teddy bears around their homes and businesses as a sort of scavenger hunt activity for others.

In Liberty County, the idea was picked up by Stephanie Berry, who started a Facebook page in the hopes that others would want to participate. In a matter of days, the Facebook following had grown to hundreds with people posting photos of their homes and businesses daily. Some also shared photos and locations of places where they had found the bears.

Berry, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Noah’s Ark, said she thought it would be a way for people to say hello to their neighbors without having to disobey the rules about social distancing.

“It’s something fun for us to do with our kids. Every little bit that we can do to be positive in our community is a plus. I am glad everyone seems to be having so much fun with it,” she said.

Berry said that bombarding Facebook with positive messages, like the bear hunts, is one way to lighten the harsh reality of Coronavirus.

“We are still going to be okay. A lot of people are hurting right now. Their kids aren’t in school and some have lost their jobs. They can’t see their family outside their own home, so being able to share your home on Facebook, and communicate that way, is connecting us a little bit while still keeping a safe distance,” she said.

The bear hunt is not restricted to bears. Any stuffed animal will do. Some participants have posted flamingos, monkeys and other animals. Participants who wish to do so can include an encouraging message.

The rules are simple: keep it clean, stay off other people’s properties and maintain a safe distance from others. If you want to share photos of your display, there are two local bear hunt groups on Facebook. Here are the links:

Liberty County: https://www.facebook.com/groups/826018114561681/

Hull-Daisetta: https://www.facebook.com/groups/539549546696821/

Here are some of the bears scattered across Liberty County. See if you can find them.

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