<img class="aligncenter wp-image-51785 size-large" src="https:\/\/theenterprise.net\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/23\/2021\/04\/black_bear_1618917108-1024x682.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="682" \/>\r\n\r\n<hr \/>\r\n\r\n<h1 style="text-align: center"><strong>As spring approaches, the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) issued a reminder that both people and wild animals become more active.<\/strong><\/h1>\r\nThe spring months are a busy time for wildlife, especially black bears, as they emerge from their winter dens hungry and in search of an easy meal. During this time of increased activity, it is important for homeowners to secure all potential food sources to reduce bear encounters on their property.\r\n\r\nNatural foods can be scarce during the early spring, so bears often look for easy food sources. Often these sources may be your garbage, compost pile, barbeque grills, birdseed, and pet food stored outside.\r\n\r\n"The goal is to make human sources of food harder for a bear to get than what nature provides \u2013 especially food that is high in fat and calories," said Nelson Lafon, Forest Wildlife Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.\r\n\r\nBears are naturally cautious of humans, but they can overcome their wariness if people reward them with food; either intentionally by placing food out or unintentionally by not securing garbage, pet food, or other food sources.\r\n\r\nTake the following steps to avoid attracting black bears near your residence:\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>Secure Garbage: Keep in a locked shed or inside until collected or use a bear resistant container.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Take down birdfeeders. For tips on attracting birds, not bears:\u00a0<a href="https:\/\/bearwise.org\/store\/BearWise-Bulletin-1-Attract-Birds-Not-Bears-p318789683">org\/store\/BearWise-Bulletin-1-Attract-Birds-Not-Bears-p318789683<\/a><\/li>\r\n \t<li>Secure pet and\/or livestock feed in bear resistant containers or inside locked sheds.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Clean up porches\/decks: Clean grills, remove any potential food sources, and remember a screened in porch is not a \u201csecure\u201d storage area from a bear\u2019s point of view.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Never leave food, trash, or pet\/livestock feed inside your vehicle.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n"By following these steps, people can prevent most problems with bears," said Lafon. "Our staff respond to hundreds of situations involving bears every year, and most are due to these attractants."\r\n\r\nFor more information on black bears in Virginia, visit the DWR website and learn how to do your part to\u00a0keep bears wild:\u00a0<a href="https:\/\/dwr.virginia.gov\/wildlife\/bear\/">dwr.virginia.gov\/wildlife\/bear<\/a>\u00a0or\u00a0<a href="https:\/\/bearwise.org\/">bearwise.org<\/a>.\r\n\r\nCall the toll-free Wildlife Conflict Helpline at 1-855-571-9003 to report bear activity in your area and for additional advice on preventing and mitigating wildlife conflicts.