(CBS NEWS) – Warren Woodard almost didn’t believe his wife when she told him a giant black bear was blocking the front entrance to their Longwood, Florida, house last week.
When he arrived home, his wife waved him over to the garage door.
“She said, ‘Come here a minute. There’s a bear laying at the door asleep,'” Woodard told CBS affiliate WKMG-TV.
He walked inside the house and peeked outside the front door.
Sure enough, he saw what appeared to be a nearly 7-foot-long black bear sprawled in in front of the doorstep.
“He was laying there,” Woodard said. “[It] looked like he was asleep.”
It had been stormy all afternoon and Woodward believes the bear was using his porch to take cover from the rain.
“I think the bear had got caught up in it, and here’s a nice dry place,” Woodard said. “I guess if the door wasn’t there, he probably would have gone in the house.”
The bear tossed and turned in its sleep, rolling over several times, as Woodward assessed the situation.
He pulled out his phone and captured a few quick pictures — proof that the massive bear existed — before he dialed 911 to report the unexpected visitor.
A community police officer was first to arrive on scene, steering clear of the driveway. Minutes later, another officer arrived.
That officer apparently made a noise upon her arrival that startled the bear, awaking him from his slumber and causing him to jump and start running.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the officer did exactly what you’re supposed to do when you stumble upon a black bear.
“You want to let the bear know it is not welcome in your yard, so from a safe location, scare it away by yelling, banging pots and pans, using an air horn, or anything else that makes a lot of noise,” the FWC advises. “Black bears are normally too shy to risk contact with humans.”
But there was one problem when it came to Woodward’s situation: the startled bear headed straight toward him.
“The officer yelled at me, ‘Look out!'” Woodward told WKMG-TV. “He ran right toward me. So I ran back around and into the garage.”
Luckily, Woodward was able to step out of the bear’s way just in time. He knows things could have been much worse.
“It’s a scary thought,” he said.