The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is asking residents to remove food from around their homes to help reduce nuisance bear activity.
The WVDNR says it has received more than 1,600 bear complaints in 2020 and bears have been spotted looking for food in rural backyards, suburban neighborhoods and busy cities.
To keep bears out of your yard:
Remove all food attractants from around your home. Bears are attracted to and will eat anything that humans or other animals will eat. Take down all bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, squirrel feeders and deer feeders. Birds do not need to be fed during the summer.
Store livestock feed in bear-proof containers or inside a secure building.
If you have outside pets, only feed them a portion they will consume each time they are fed. Make sure food isn’t left outside overnight.
Keep trash cans in a garage or storage building until the morning of trash pickup.
Properly installed electric fencing is the best way to keep bears out of beehives and chicken houses.
Bears typically rely on blackberries, raspberries, blueberries in the summer until things like acorns, hickory nuts, beech nuts are available in the fall. However, WVDNR officials say because of the weak soft mast crop this year, bears are taking advantage of whatever human food is available.
The WVDNR also would like to remind West Virginians that it is illegal to feed bears. Biologists recommend that people stay away from bears and not get between a bear and any kind of food.