Tennessee Mayor Encourages City-Wide 'Bear Hunt' To Spread Joy While Families Social-Distance


Social distancing may have the world isolated for now, but creative minds are hard at work to distract anyone needing a break from life’s uncertainty and worry.

From drive-in confessionals to drive-by birthday parades, people are using their vehicles in safe, innovative ways to get out of the house and gain back a little normalcy.

That’s why Keith McDonald, the mayor of Bartlett, Tennessee, suggested that resident families with small children hop into their cars and go on a neighborhood bear hunt.

Now, at first thought, a search for bears doesn’t make much sense in western Tennessee, where the bear population is extremely low and sightings are rare.

But that’s what makes Mayor McDonald’s idea so creative.

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Instead of live bears, families are hunting stuffed ones.

Inspired by the beloved children’s book, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, the hunt has participants placing teddy bears in the front windows of their houses so that families can drive around trying to spot the bears.

According to KSAT-TV, the children’s book and the song begin with the line: “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. I’m not scared. What a beautiful day!”

When a bear is spotted, the fearless hunters are encouraged to capture their findings on camera and post them on social media sites.

The Daily News Journal shared how Shanna Bonner Groom got things rolling in her Stewart Springs neighborhood in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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After Groom posted her plan on Facebook, at least 60 homes agreed to put bears in their windows for the kids to find.

But it’s not just Tennessee that’s having all the fun.

“Multiple sightings” in Levelland and Lubbock, Texas, were reported by KCBD.

Even Cookie Monster and a couple of unicorns showed up in neighborhoods in Iowa, according to KCCI.

The game is also transforming as participants add rainbows to their window displays.

KSAT pointed out that during troubled times, some parents say, the rainbow scavenger hunt can remind everyone to see the good instead of the bad.

And while this game may be intended for children, it can also be a much needed distraction for adults.

“Many of the adults in our neighborhood are eager to participate because we remember the song,” Shanna Bonner Groom told the Daily News Journal. “It brings back wonderful memories.”

At the end of the children’s book, the family vows to never go bear hunting again. But it’s probably safe to say that many families will venture out of their homes for another round of this “social-distancing-approved scavenger hunt.”

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