We received this picture 10-30-2013 from a Ridge Road resident. Bears have been spotted everywhere on the mountain and in the interest of safety are posting some helpful hints on Living With Bears. The VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has developed some helpful information and it is posted here. black-bear-factsheet
Residential Bear Problems
Bears are highly adaptable, intelligent animals and may learn to associate human dwellings with food. Bears are attracted to residential areas by the smell of foods people commonly put out around their homes. In reality, most problems caused by bears are really “people problems”. It is up to humans to change their own behaviors to avoid conflicts.
The most common food attractants are bird feeders, garbage, and pet food, but grills, livestock feeds, compost, and beehives can also attract bears. Residential bear problems may occur at any time of year, but are more common when natural food supplies are limited, usually in the spring or in years when natural nut and berry production is low.
Most common bear problems have simple solutions. Typical problems involve turned-over garbage containers, trash littered across the yard, damaged birdfeeders, or bears coming onto porches to eat pet food or get into coolers. However, bears that learn to associate food with people can cause property damage in their search for food around houses. If addressed promptly, problems are often quickly resolved. After a few failed attempts to find food around homes, bears will usually leave the area in search of their natural wild foods.
If problems are ignored, property damage not only can get worse, but bears may lose their distrust of humans and come to rely solely on unnatural foods. Habituated bears can pose public safety concerns and in some unfortunate circumstances may have to be killed. The responsibility to prevent this from happening belongs to everybody.
They recommend the following tips and suggestions for dealing with hungry bears:
- Remove food sources that might attract hungry bears. This includes bird feeders, garbage, pet food, outdoor grills, livestock food, compost, fruit trees and beehives. Virginia’s bears are primarily active and very hungry in the spring and early summer, so temporarily removing these items, or scrupulously cleaning them if you can’t remove them, should help.
- 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. If you do not have a trash collection service, take your garbage to the Landfill frequently (twice a week or more). If you do have a trash collection service, put your garbage out the morning of the pickup rather than the night before.
- Take down your birdfeeders temporarily until the bear moves on.
- Consider installing electric fencing, an inexpensive and extremely efficient, proven deterrent to bears, around dumpsters, gardens, beehives or other potential food sources
Here’s a link to a Video on Virginia Black Bears