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Bear Safety

As Virginia's black bear population grows and expands, black bears are becoming an increasingly common sight across Roanoke County. Black bears have a natural fear of humans, are shy, and usually avoid people. However, bears may be attracted to food sources in residential areas.

Tips for Preventing Nuisance Bear Problems:

  • Secure your garbage: Store garbage indoors, in a shed, in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
  • Put garbage out in the morning of pickup, not the night before.
  • Take trash to the dump frequently.
  • Pick up pet food: Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
  • Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seeds and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
  • Clean the outdoor grill often.
  • Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
  • Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.
  • Install electric fencing to protect beehives, dumpsters, gardens, compost piles, or other potential food sources.
  • Talk to your neighbors: Make sure your neighbors and community are aware of the ways to prevent nuisance bear problems.

Report Unresolved Problems

If you experience a bear problem after taking the appropriate prevention steps above, you may seek additional assistance by contacting the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources' area office in Forest, Virginia.