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VA Dept: Watch out for bears

black bear

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Virginians need to be on the look out for black bears, no matter what part of the state you live in. That’s the message being issued from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries on Monday.

In a release the department says the highest concentration of bears occurs in the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains and around the Great Dismal Swamp, adding the Commonwealth’s black bear population is growing, making bear sightings elsewhere more common.

Around April and May bears are waking up after hibernation, and venturing outside their dens for the first time in months. Often this is the first time mothers are protecting new cubs, making them extra territorial.

Bears typically stay away from residential areas, but can be lured in by the scent of food. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends you not store household trash, or anything that smells like food, in vehicles, on porches or decks.

If you see a bear in your area, keep your distance. If you feel threatened call your regional office immediately. You can find that number here.