Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

May 21, 2013

Authorities: No plans to remove black bear unless it is a threat

By JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Residents in Bluefield, Va., are still reporting an unwelcomed visitor.

According to Lt. Pete Beavers with the Bluefield, Va., Police Department, a bear at large in the region has been spotted three additional times around Pine Hill Park and the Double Gates area. However, state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials say they won’t be coming to town to remove the bear unless it becomes aggressive.

Beavers said the town reported the bear to the department last week.

“We have talked to them and they gave us some tips,” Beavers said.

Some of those tips include feeding pets inside and removing trash and garbage from unsecured cans. Beavers said they are also trying to scare the bear away by firing shotgun blasts.

“We want to get it back into the wild and away from people,” he said.

Danny Harrington, with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, said the Marion office receives a lot of calls about bear sightings in rural Virginia. Reports are placed into a database and characterized by the seriousness of the incident.

“A category three is a bear that is led by his stomach or nose. He really isn’t causing any trouble. A category two is a bear that is hanging around, not going anywhere and getting into containers. A category one is seldom seen. That means a bear is in the house, threatening human life or has wandered into a place of business with revolving doors. That requires immediate response,” Harrington said.

Most reports can be handled over the phone.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time it can be taken care of by removing or taking the garbage out at different times,” he said.

Harrington said the department has no plans to come to Bluefield and remove the bear unless it becomes aggressive.

“If it escalates into another category, we may have to come on site and talk with the appropriate people,” he said.

— Contact Jamie Parsell at jparsell@bdtonline.com