The Lynchburg Police Department is warning residents of bear sightings in the area. The department posted a message to its Facebook page, saying that it has received reports of bear sightings in the Boonsboro area.
“It’s kind of unnerving I guess if you think that you could open your door and there’s a friendly bear or unfriendly bear sitting there waiting for you,” says Boonsboro resident Monty Musgrave.
Despite what some may think, Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says that bears are rarely looking to attack. Instead, they are simply looking for food.
“It’d look like they’d been through the backyard. It was during the night and it looked like the bird feeder was knocked on the ground,” says Ralph Owens, a resident of Rustburg.
To keep the bears away, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recommends eliminating potential food sources.
“Don’t leave any trash out. Have garage doors closed up. Windows locked to where they can’t get into it. And bears have been known to get into vehicles as well, so don’t leave trash in the back of a vehicle,” says Dan Lovelace, district wildlife biologist with the department.
If the unwanted visitor overstays his or her welcome, Lovelace says there are signals you can send to let them know it’s time to leave.
“Do something that makes them feel uncomfotable. If they’re in your backyard, shout, clap, make some noise to make them move on,” says Lovelace.
He also recommends keeping dogs on a leash.
“When a bear encounters a dog, a lot of times they think it might be a coyote. Particularly if they have cubs. So a bear would be more aggresive toward a dog than a certainly would be toward a person,” says Lovelace.
Also, spread the word to nearby neighbors so they also follow the proper steps. For more tips on becoming bear aware, look here.