When Janet Hardy first saw four dark shapes moving across Highway 98 from south to north 395, she thought she was seeing a family of wild boars.



“I saw these big, dark shadows. They crossed in front of me,” Hardy told The Sun. “It took me a second and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, those are not wild boars, they are four black bears.’



“I turned and just stopped.”



Hardy was on her way home to Point Washington at 10 p.m. Dec. 20, when she saw the four full-grown bears crossing over to the woods around Eden State Park.



She was surprised that the four would be together and by the bears’ size.



“I would say if I was standing, their backs were at least up to my waist,” the 5-foot, 7-inch woman said. “They actually looked larger to me than I had imagined.”



The longtime South Walton resident’s neighbor mentioned a couple of months ago that he saw coyotes while enjoying his morning coffee. That news, paired with the black bear sighting, took Hardy by surprise.



“I guess we have a little more wildlife here than I thought we did,” she said, noting this was her first time seeing bears in Walton County..



The bears were sighted in the woods of Point Washington, by Highway 395, with Seagrove to the south and Eden State Park to the north. Hardy mentioned that owners of small pets should be mindful of their presence.