Bear sightings seem to rise with acorn shortage

Published: Oct. 22, 2018 at 6:56 PM EDT
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"Hey, Yogi!"

That's what Troy Duncan said when he caught a black bear crossing King Street in Vinton over the weekend. Video shows the bear waiting for traffic to clear before he or she gets up and starts to walk across the road, and Duncan's not the only person with a bear sighting.

Experts say bears are spending more time in populated areas this year for one reason: acorns.

This fall's crop of wild food isn't big enough to support local bears.

"They are such good survivors," Jaime Sajecki, Black Bear Project Leader with Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries said. "They are just trying to survive. The amount of calories that can be taken from my garbage pail or a bird feeder, it's irresistible to them. So really they're not doing it to be obnoxious, they're just doing it to survive."

At Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, they had a bear show up on their front doorstep last week. Someone unexpectedly brought in an injured cub.

They say you can stop bears from coming into populated areas by doing what they do at the center -- lock up potential food sources.

"It's all about us trying as a community to come together," Sabrina Garvin, Executive Director of Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center of Roanoke, said. "Put your birdseed up at night. Lock your trashcan. Put it in your garage. Don't put it out until you have to for collection."

The number of sightings should drop in mid-November. Sajecki said that's when the last round of bears should enter hibernation.