Bear sightings in Southern West Virginia have gone wild - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Bear sightings in Southern West Virginia have gone wild

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You've been calling us nonstop letting us know about bear sightings in your yards and neighborhoods.

We wanted to find out what's bringing them around our natural habitat. 59News spoke with the Division of Natural Resources and told us why they're moving in on us.

DNR wildlife biologist Collin Carpenter said their office receives up to 300 complaints a year and this time of year they are seeing the most, more than 5 calls per week. He told us why.

"This time of year black bears are feeding heavily to put on weight before they go into their dens in the winter so no matter what the food conditions are in a given year they will be more active this time of year as they prepare for denning," Carpenter said.

Carpenter said unfortunately bears that become too used to human conditions have to be put down, but he also told us there's lots of ways you can help prevent that.

"If the bears are getting into your trash you need to do something else with your trash, don't leave pet foot out over night, don't leave the bird feeders out. Don't put your bird feeders out until winter time, that's when birds need to be fed," he told us.

It is illegal to feed bears. He said when you do, they will get used to the human environment and that's when the problems start.

"When you put food out, it's just like any other animal you put food out for, they will continue to come back. The problem with bears is if they are used to getting food in a certain place and they don't get it anymore that's when they start causing problems and tearing into trash cans and bird feeders and knocking over barbeque grills," Carpenter said.

He told us there's no need to get anyone involved for just a bear sighting when they become a problem, such as after you've gotten rid of the food source and the bear is still hanging around, that's when he said to report it.

To report to the DNR call (304) 256-6946.