WVDNR reminds residents to remove bear attractants from property

Residents can help protect black bears and prevent nuisance activity by cleaning up their property

BECKLEY, W.VA. — To prevent human-bear conflicts around the state, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is reminding residents to take extra precautions by removing bear attractants from their property.

“Deliberately feeding a black bear is illegal in West Virginia, but many people don’t realize that they are unintentionally feeding bears, which can cause serious problems for people, their property and our state animal,” said WVDNR Director Brett McMillion.

Common bear attractants include bird feeders, pet food and food scraps and unsecured trash. Bear activity increases and peaks in May and June, but the WVDNR starts receiving reports of human-bear conflicts in April when high-energy food sources such as serviceberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are scarce.

“Once a bear becomes food-conditioned and habituated to humans, they often have to be humanely killed for safety reasons,” said Colin Carpenter, black bear project leader for the WVDNR. “That is why we remind people every year to take responsibility for their property by removing or securing food attractants before a bear finds them.”

Residents can help prevent nuisance bear activity by following what Carpenter calls the bearwise basics, which are:

  1. Never feed or approach bears
  2. Secure food, garbage and recycling
  3. Remove bird feeders when bears are active
  4. Never leave pet food outdoors
  5. Clean and store grills
  6. Alert neighbors to bear activity

To learn more about black bears and how to prevent human-bear conflicts, visit WVdnr.gov/bearwise-tips.