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Black bear in Deltaville

by Tom Chillemi

Hubie Falkenstein photographed the hungry black bear on the deck steps of his Moore’s Creek home on Monday at about noon.
A black bear ripped open a sealed container and ate the suet block from a bird feeder in the yard of Phyllis Garland of Moore’s Creek Estates in Deltaville. (Photo by Phyllis Garland)
The black bear left the yard of Phyllis Garland and headed toward new ground. (Photo by Phyllis Garland)
Recent black bear sightings in Middlesex County have stirred the curiosity and concerns of residents.

On Monday, a black bear was seen by several people in the Moore’s Creek and Lucy’s Cove areas of Deltaville.

About six weeks ago, possibly the same black bear was seen in the Hartfield area.

Black bears generally stay away from people, said Dwayne Dunlevy of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. “They don’t like to hang around us if they can help it.”

Black bears come into populated areas looking for food, said Dunlevy, a conservation police officer. “Don’t have a food source or something they can smell and think it’s food, such as a grill. If they don’t find a food source they will move on to an area more suitable for them.”

The biggest problem is pet food that sits outside, he said, Also, they love bird feeders.

Trash cans should be secured and kept indoors if possible.

Dunlevy said it’s “highly unlikely” that a black bear would go after a small child or pet. However, residents should be cautious.

Black bears remain fearful of people, but as with any wild animal, humans need to show caution, respect them, and keep a safe distance, he added.

Those who encounter a black bear should back away slowly, said Dunlevy. “Unless it’s acting aggressively, we tell people to leave them alone.”

It’s best not to surprise black bears, said Dunlevy.

If a bear is aggressive or lacks fear, “most of the time yelling or throwing your hands in the air will make them go away,” he said.

For more information, visit the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website.

Related article and video:
Living with Black Bears in Virginia

posted 08.10.2009

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