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Black bears Prowling Through Tri-Cities VA-TN Region

by Lewis Loflin

If anyone that knew anything about Nature outside the polar bear hysteria and eco-Armageddon in the press, they would know rural America is being overrun with wildlife. Even in the Bristol VA/TN area (with Washington County, over 100,000 people), we got critters everywhere. That includes bears. From the press:

"Bristol, Va., authorities say there have been several reports of bears in the city lately, and Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency officials say there have also been several recent bear sightings in Carter, Johnson and Sullivan counties...a black bear was spotted yesterday in Kingsport on Longreen Road near the Ridgefields Golf Course, according to the TWRA."

"On May 20, there were two calls about black bears in Bristol, Tenn. According to the TWRA, most of the recent calls about bears in Northeast Tennessee have come from Carter and Johnson counties. Meanwhile, the sightings in Bristol, Va., have prompted authorities to issue a press release reminding citizens of how a growing bear population should be addressed.

To bears, human dwellings equal food, the release says. Bears are often drawn to residential areas by bird feeders, pet food, garbage, outdoor grills, compost, fruit trees and beehives, authorities say." In this case where my bear is standing, a wet weather spring is off to the right.

"For those who don't want to deal with bears in the backyard, Bristol authorities recommend removing any food sources bears might find tempting. Household trash or anything that smells like food should be kept in the basement, garage or an outbuilding. It should not be stored in vehicles or on porches or decks where bears can get to it, authorities say." The building shown in the picture is where I store my trash before I haul it off.

"If you spot a bear foraging in your backyard, Bristol authorities ask that you keep your distance and don't feed it (it's illegal)." In my case I've often gotten raccoons and opossums eating with my cats, and dear wondering around the yard. My wife saw a panther a few years ago, but this bear is the first.

Some material extract Kingsport Times-News 5/28/08

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