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Bear Safety

Video courtesy of Virginia Department
of Game and Inland Fisheries.

As Virginia's black bear population grows and expands, black bears are becoming an increasingly common sight across the 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 appropriate steps of prevention, you may seek additional assistance by contacting VDGIF or local law enforcement at