Newton- Conover residents are “Going on a Bear Hunt”

Staff Writer

It all stemmed from a Facebook post.

The idea for “bear hunting” came from another state, but North Carolinians quickly picked up on it.

“It started after people started social distancing,” Conover resident Jennifer Greene said.

Greene, a mother of two, liked the idea that was shared with her from a Hickory friend.

“We need something for our little town,” she thought.

So on Monday, Greene started the Facebook group “Conover Bear Hunt.”

“There’s only so much you can do at home,” she said.

Like other parents, Greene wanted to get her children off their electronics.

She enlisted her 10-year-old son Jaxson’s help in coming up with a daily schedule.

Last week, they decided to go on daily walks.

“The walks turned mundane,” Greene said. “We found a creek, but the next day it was too cold to play in.”

So when the “Bear Hunt” game came up, Greene jumped right in.

After creating the original group, she posted a video of the “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” book online.

“It reminds me of the painted rocks that were so popular two summers ago,” she said. “It’s an excellent game we can play with our kids.”

People who are playing the game give clues to where their bears are, but not an actual address.

“You give a clue, but don’t actually tell where it is,” Greene said.

Whenever someone “finds” a bear, they’re asked to upload the picture to the Facebook group.

Greene said the game brings happiness in an otherwise dark time.

“It brings everybody together,” she said.

Her children, Jaxon and Holland, 4, like playing the game.

Tuesday night, Greene took Holland out in the rain to play.

“We put on our rain boots and raincoats and found 12 bears in 30 minutes,” she said.

Greene said that you can play the game anytime -- even in different weather conditions.

“You’ve got to do something.” she said.

Since Monday, Greene’s group has grown to 328 members. She hopes it will grow even more, and encourages nursing homes and businesses to play the game.

Greene said it would be a safe way for elderly residents to have interaction with the outside world and help promote local businesses.

“It could support local businesses,” Greene said. “People can look for bears while getting ‘to-go’ food.”

So far neighborhoods such as Random Hills, Rock Barn, and Lecho Park are all participating. 2 Pink Magnolias and the Paisley Oak boutique have jumped on board.

“I don’t know how long this (trend) will last,” Greene said. “But it can bring some joy.”