Authorities have received several reports of bear sightings in Prince William County and are reminding residents to say out of the animals' way to avoid injury or death.
A bear was spotted most recently in the Briarwood Drive area of Dumfries on Tuesday.
Animal control officials said bears generally try to avoid humans, but their search for food in the spring and summer can bring them into suburban areas and into contact with people and domesticated animals.
Last spring, Manassas Park and the Department of Parks and Recreation issued a Black Bear Advisory and closed a portion of Signal Hill Park after finding signs of black bears at the 110-acre site.
Authorities say it is illegal, dangerous and detrimental to bears to feed them.
Bear are attracted to food and even garbage that smells like food, so it’s best to not leave these items outside.
Here are some other tips on how to avoid attracting bears:
- Don’t leave pet food, grills or livestock food outside. Bird feeders, fruit trees and beehives can also attract bears.
- Don’t leave garbage in vehicles, porches, or decks but rather, store them in the garage, shed or basement.
- Put your trash outside on the morning of pickup instead of the night before.
If you do see a bear; keep your distance and if possible, take your pets and leave the area. Do not try to “rescue” a baby bear in a tree.
If you experience bear problems even after taking preventative measures, call the regional office of Virginia Department Game and Inland Fisheries.