How to Become More ‘Bear Aware’

| May 8, 2018 | 0 Comments | Community

Recently a Heritage Hunt resident used social media to alerted community members that a bear was seen in her neighborhood.

Bear sightings are not uncommon in the Gainesville area this time of year, especially in areas adjacent to forests.

Fortunately, the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries has provided some information on how to respond should you encounter a bear, which the Prince William Police Department shared with the public.

Becoming Bear Aware! Tips from the VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries.

With a healthy black bear population, bear sightings are common throughout much of Virginia. A highly adaptable and intelligent animal, bears can live close to people. While local residents often do not know bears are living close by, some bears may wander into residential areas due to the smell of food around homes. The most common food attractants are bird-feeders, garbage, and pet food; however, outdoor grills, livestock food, compost, fruit trees, and beehives will also attract bears.

What should you do if you see a bear?
• Enjoy and keep a respectful distance! In most cases, the bear will move on quickly.
• If a bear is up a tree on or near your property, give it space. Do not approach, and bring your pets inside to provide the bear a clear path to leave your property. Never run from a bear.

What should you do if a bear is consuming bird seed, garbage, pet food, etc. on your property?
• The best way to encourage the bear not to return is to remove the food source.
• Do not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.
• Keep your full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement.
• Take your garbage to the dump frequently or if you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before.
• It is best not to put out birdfeeders between April 1 and November 1, but if you do and a bear accesses the feed, you must take down your birdfeeder for 3-4 weeks after the bear visits.
• Consider installing electric fencing, an inexpensive and extremely efficient proven deterrent to bears, around dumpsters, gardens, fruit trees, beehives, or other potential food sources.
• If addressed quickly, this situation can be resolved almost immediately after you remove the food source. Sometimes, the bear may return searching for food, but after a few failed attempts to find it, will leave your property.

More info: https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildli…/…/becoming-bear-aware/

Article shared by the Prince William County Police Department. 

© 2018, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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