Published: Sep 16, 2011 11:16 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 16, 2011 11:16 PM EDT

COPELAND, Fla.- Copeland locals know a thing or two about being neighbors with nature, but the small Everglades community is now speaking out about some unruly residents.

"They come out, and they'll knock the garbage cans over and get in it and feed," Copeland resident Scot Lucas said Friday.

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission's logged a number of complaints on nuisance bears in Copeland over the past few weeks, with many of them feasting on trash and livestock.

Danny Sylvest says one even chased his six-year old down the road.

"Both of them were frantically screaming. You could see the fear in their face. They had seen something that wasn't right," Sylvest said.

Residents say since the rainy season started, the bear population has moved closer to their community and are behaving more brazen than ever.

Carl Nicholson says his grandmother's chicken coop is almost wiped out.

"She had two dozen at one time. Now there's only one or two left. Every night he comes and eats 2 or 3 of them," Nicholson said.

FWC set up a trap for four days to try and relocate the bold bears, but had no luck. Now, they're asking residents to take extra care to avoid a confrontation with nature's neighbors.

"We ask that people secure their household garbage in the garage or in a shed. Put the garbage out in the morning, rather than the night before and consider electric fencing especially if you do have live stock," Gabriella Ferrero of FWC said Friday.

For more information on how to protect your home from bears, visit