DNR warns of bear sightings, what to do if you see one

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PIPESTEM, WV (WVNS) — In the mountains of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia, there is a multitude of wildlife of all shapes and sizes. One of the largest being black bears. But what do you do if you come across one?

“The most important thing is not to panic. Chances are pretty good that they’re more scared of you or just as scared as you are, so maybe just talk calmly, try to back away the same way you came, and get to a secure place, whether it a vehicle, a house, or a shed,” Lambert explained.

Joshua Lambert is a Natural Resource Police Officer. He said most of the calls they receive of bear sightings are because the bear is looking for food.

“They’re great at smelling things so if you have scraps, if you’re using a grill that’s got grease on it, they can smell that. So you want to make sure that you keep all the scraps, all the trash, once you fill the bag up take it directly to the dumpster, don’t leave it laying around because that can attract a bear,” said Lambert.

Officer Lambert said black bears are generally not aggressive, but that can quickly change if a mama bear senses danger for her cubs.

“Don’t get in between a cub and the mom. If you find yourself in that spot, just do the same thing, try to talk calm, back away slowly and try to get to a secure location,” said Lambert.

Lambert said if you do come across a bear or a cub, call the Division of Natural Resources and they will dispatch someone to handle it. You can also call 911 and they will do the same.

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