Goochland residents concerned over multiple bear sightings

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — “He came on the back deck around 2 in the morning and he picked the trash can up and took it off the deck,” said Goochland resident Rita Morris.

Morris lives off of Chapel Hill Road. She says she was asleep in her bedroom when she was awoken by a loud noise on the deck. When she looked out she saw a black bear staring right at her.

“I was like ‘oh my god,’ and you know, I didn’t know what to do,” said Morris.

Morris took a photo of the bear next to her dog house. She says it’s the fourth time she’s seen a bear in the past few months.

“Very, very scary and surprised,” said another resident, Laverne Dorsey.

Dorsey says her brother, who lives on the same street, took a picture of a black bear that he saw on his back deck last month. She says her sister who lives in the same neighborhood saw a bear walking across the street two weeks ago. Dorsey says she’s worried, especially for the kids in the neighborhood, including her granddaughter.

“You know when she gets off the bus I’m very concerned about her,” said Dorsey.

“I’m very terrified actually, because there’s nothing you can do about it,” added Morris.

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says it’s not unusual to see bears around this time of year. They say bird feed, pet food and even a dirty grill can attract them to your home. Officials say if you take care of these things, you’ll most likely prevent a bear from coming back.

“It’s really becoming more of a common thing,” said Jeff Trollinger with the department.

Trollinger says the bear population has continued to grow in Virginia. He says if you do come across a bear, keep your distance.

He also had another piece of helpful advice: “Make a lot of loud noises, bang on pots, or whack on something else, the bear will run 99% of the time,” said Trollinger.

Trollinger says never run. If you come face-to-face, make yourself seem as big and loud as possible. If you continue to have problems, he says residents can always contact the department at 1-855-571-9003 or visit www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/bear for more information.

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