Abingdon Police Department
For Immediate Release
Bear Sightings in Abingdon, Virginia
The Abingdon Police Department has received two reports of black bear sightings in the areas of Crestview Drive/Court Street and Russell Road.
The first report was received Wednesday (6/1/16) at approximately 6:00 AM in the 400 block of Russell Road. The caller advised that a black bear was observed in the area of the Little League Fields. Officers responded to the area and checked for the bear, but were unable to locate it.
The second report was received Thursday (6/2/16) at approximately 1:00 PM in the Crestview Drive and North Court Street area. The caller advised that a black bear was observed near the condominiums in the area. Officers responded to the area and checked for the bear, but were unable to locate it.
The APD would like to provide the following tips, should you encounter a bear:
- · Remain calm if you encounter a bear. Do not run from it.
- · Make the bear aware of your presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing, clapping your hands, or making other noises.
- · Make sure the bear has an escape route.
- · Avoid direct eye contact, which may be perceived by a bear as a challenge. Never run from a bear. Instead, slowly back away.
- · To scare the bear away, make loud noises by yelling, banging pots and pans or using an air horn. Make yourself look as big as possible by waving your arms. If you are with someone else, stand close together with your arms raised above your head.
- · The bear may utter a series of huffs, make popping jaw sounds by snapping its jaws and swat the ground. These are warning signs that you are too close. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and do not run.
- · If a bear stands on its hind legs or moves closer, it may be trying to get a better view or detect scents in the air. It is usually not a threatening behavior.
- · Black bears will sometimes "bluff charge" when cornered, threatened or attempting to steal food. Stand your ground, avoid direct eye contact, then slowly back away and do not run.
- · If the bear does not leave, move to a secure area.
- · Black bear attacks are extremely rare. If a black bear does attack, fight back!
Black bears have a natural distrust of humans, are shy, and usually avoid people. However, bears may be attracted to food sources in residential areas.
- · Remove the bird feeders. It is best not to put out food for birds from April–November. Instead, plant native seed-bearing plants or use water features to attract birds to your home.
- · Secure your garbage. Store garbage indoors, in a shed or garage, or in a bear-proof container. Put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before, or take it to the dump frequently.
- · Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove all uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
- · Do not put meat scraps in the compost pile. Keep compost away from house.
- · Pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.
- · Clean the grill often. Do not dump drippings in your yard. Run the grill an extra 5 minutes to burn off grease.
- · Install electric fencing to protect beehives, dumpsters, gardens, compost piles, or other potential food sources.
- · Don't store food, freezers, refrigerators, or trash on porches.
- · Use harassment techniques in conjunction with removing the attractant to get the bear to move off your property. Paintballs are a great tool for hazing. They are nonlethal, won't harm the bear if shot at the rump, but are painful enough to get the bear moving away from homes.
- · Talk to your neighbors. Make sure your neighbors and community administrators are aware of the ways to prevent bears from causing problems.
Deliberate & Inadvertent Feeding of Bears is Illegal
It shall be unlawful for any person as defined in § 1-230 (Code of Virginia) to place, distribute, or allow the placement of food, minerals, carrion, trash, or similar substances to feed or attract bear. Nor, upon notification by department personnel, shall any person continue to place, distribute, or allow the placement of any food, mineral, carrion, trash, or similar substances for any purpose if the placement of these materials results in the presence of bear.
Please refer to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bear/living-with-black-bears/ for additional information. If you are, or observe someone else in, immediate danger, call 911.