Hunting for bears: Families connect during pandemic

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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (KT) - While social distancing, hundreds of people across Pike County are connecting online during the COVID-19 pandemic through a unique family activity: a bear scavenger hunt.


All schools across the commonwealth closed on March 16 as a way to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that schools not resume in-person classes until May at the earliest.


Liz Razor-Webb, of Pikeville, is the stay-at-home mother of two young children, and she said her family, like many others, started to feel isolated inside their home while they practiced social distancing. When Liz heard about the idea of having a bear scavenger hunt from one of her Facebook friends, Liz said, she shared it with people on her account, thinking the idea could catch on in Pike County.


Within a few days, more than 800 people have joined the public Facebook page for the scavenger hunt, called “It’s a Bear Hunt — Pike County Style,” and bears and other kinds of stuffed animals have popped up in windows and on porches all over Pikeville.


“I’m floored by the amount of people in the community so far that have reached out or put out bears,” Liz said. “Some said they were digging through their attics looking for bears to be able to participate.”


To participate, people should put a stuffed bear in a window or on their porch. Families who walk or drive through various neighborhoods try to spot the different bears and see how many they find at the end of the scavenger hunt each day. On the Facebook page, many families are sharing the number of bears they and their children found at the end of their daily hunts, with some counting more than 100.


Liz said the hunt allows parents and their children to practice social distancing while being able to get out of the house. She described the activity as a “morale booster” during a time when it can be easy for people to feel isolated inside their homes, and she said her children look forward to bear-hunting every day.


“I think there’s a real positive interaction so far, and I’m hoping it continues,” Liz said. “I hope it goes into the county, too. I want those kids involved so I think it’s starting to trickle out there. I’ll be really happy when that happens.”


For more information about the scavenger hunt, visit the public Facebook page called “It’s a Bear Hunt — Pike County Style!”

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