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West Virginia Wildlife
Waking Bears
Patrick McMurtry Spring Is Almost Here..Don't Feed The Bears!

February 26, 2014
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice


Even though it doesn't feel like it, Spring's right around the corner." Colin Carpenter isn't a meteorologist, he's one of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources top bear biologists, and this is a busy time of the year for him. Bears are waking up and taking their first steps out of their dens in a while, and they usually have one thing on their mind.

"Usually around mid March, male bears come out of their den, they come out and there's usually not enough food available for them, so they're going to show up where they can get easy food." says Carpenter.

And bears are experts at finding easy food, whether it's in dumpsters outside of restaurants, or maybe something a little closer to home, and your family.

"People need to be ready now, be thinking about it, they're going to be hungry and we need to keep our food away from them and keep them out of trouble. We need to take down our bird feeders as winter ends, put our trash out on pick up days, and if we have pets outside, don't feed them at night." says Carpenter.

That should keep bears away from food not meant for them, and really, the only food meant for them is in the woods. Even though they are pretty cool to watch, you definitely don't need to do anything to feed them...it's bad for the bears and against the law.

"It's understandable why people want to see bears, they're great animals to observe and everybody likes to see them and you don't see them that often, so they think leaving food out in a deer feeder or a bird feeder is actually helping that bear. The reality is, bears come back to easy food sources. It's illegal to feed a bear or bait a bear. You're doing a disservice because a lot of the time we wind up having to destroy these bears because they become accustomed to human food sources." says Carpenter.

So do the right thing, keep food sources out of your yard, and that will help keep bears in the woods where they belong, and where they're safe.

LEARN MORE at the W. Va. DNR


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