It’s bear time again. No need for concern. But schools and local authorities will be keeping their eyes open to avoid any potential problems. Prince William County police are passing along some important tips:
- Remove food sources that might attract hungry bears. This includes bird feeders, garbage, pet food, outdoor grills, and compost. Virginia’s bears are primarily active and very hungry from late March through May, so temporarily removing these items, or scrupulously cleaning them if you cannot remove them, should help.
- Do not store trash —or anything that smells like food — in vehicles, on porches, or decks. Keep you full or empty trash containers secured in a garage, shed or basement. If you do not have trash collection service, take your garbage to the Landfill frequently. If you do have trash collection service, put your garbage out the morning of rather than the night before.
- Take down your birdfeeders temporarily until the bear moves on.
What should you do if you see a bear? Keep a respectful distance. If a bear is up a tree on or near your property, give it space. Bring your pets inside and leave the immediate area.
Always remember that a bear is a wild animal, and that it is detrimental to the bear—as well as illegal in Virginia—to feed a bear under ANY circumstances.
If you experience a bear problem after taking appropriate preventative steps, please notify the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries regional office or call the wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003.