WARRENTON, Va. - Authorities in Fauquier County are warning of several reports of black bear sightings recently.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office said a black bear was spotted at Stuyvesant Street and Roebling Street in Warrenton Monday morning.
“Black bears are usually more afraid of us than we are of them and we can live in harmony, however, there is an occasional incident that causes concern,” the sheriff’s office wrote on its Facebook page.
In neighboring Prince William County, there have been several bear sightings reported this summer that have been captured on video.
According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, there are more than 17,000 bears across the state. However, unprovoked bear attacks are rare and have never been documented in Virginia.
Here are some tips from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries if you encounter a bear:
- Stay calm. If you see a bear and it has not seen you, calmly leave the area. As you move away, make noise to let the bear discover your presence.
- Stop. Back away slowly while facing the bear.
- Give the bear plenty of room to escape. Bears rarely attack people unless they feel cornered or provoked.
- Do not run or make any sudden movements. Running could prompt the bear to give chase, and you cannot outrun a bear. If on a trail, step off the trail and slowly leave the area.
- If there is a bear in your yard and it approaches you, make yourself look big and make loud noises. Remain at a safe distance and throw rocks to make the bear feel unwelcome.
- If there is a bear in your house prop open all doors to the outside and get out of the way of the exit. Never close a bear into a room. Make noises and yell at bear to leave the house. Don’t approach the bear but make sure it knows it is violating your territory.
- If you surprise a bear speak softly. This may reassure the bear that you mean it no harm.
- Fight back. If a black bear attacks you, fight back. Black bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands.