Officials urge caution as bears begin to wake from slumber


LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — The state of Virginia has been alerting residents to the fact that bears are beginning to wake up from their winter slumber and will soon be in search of food. That means they could likely be in people’s backyards.

The News & Advance in Lynchburg reports that black bears are most active in Virginia from the beginning of April until the beginning of November.

Dan Lovelace, a wildlife biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said recently that there are 17,000 bears across the state.

“If you’re anywhere in Virginia now, you can say you’re pretty much in bear country,” he said.

Lovelace added that the state has seen an increase in calls about bears because interactions with humans have risen.

Across the state, most calls are about bears getting into trash.

He warned people to fight back if a bear charges them. But he said encounters that result in injury to humans are extremely rare.