How an increase of bear sightings is causing problems on Central Virginia roads

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. -- In recent years, the black bear population has grown across Virginia.

That is proving a hazard for motorists as bears attempt to cross-country back roads and Interstates.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) says bears can now be found in 92 of the Commonwealth's 98 counties and cities.

Monday evening a Nissan car struck and killed a bear near the intersection of Boydton Plank Road and Asbury, in Dinwiddie County, just outside the town of McKenney.

On April 12, a large black bear was hit and killed on Interstate 85 in Dinwiddie.

PHOTO: Roy Cox

"He was huge, I would guesstimate about 400 pounds," said David Collins. "My theory... it had to be hit by a tractor-trailer because if a car had of hit that bear that big, the car would have been there with the bear."

Marlon Dance, Co-Owner of Dance's Sporting Goods in Colonial Heights and an avid hunter, says bear sightings have increased in recent years

"Ten years ago, if somebody saw a bear in this area of Virginia, it was a rarity," said Dance. "These people that are putting game cameras out are picking up bears on a regular basis on their game cameras."

Hunter Kayla Parham says she's noticed a big change in the last four years on her game camera.

DGIF says this past fall and winter hunting season saw 2715 bears harvested. That's the second highest harvest of bears ever in Virginia.

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