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Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 06/10/2011

Bear in the woods: Just another tourist


You lookin’ at me? A black bear takes a break from the chase in May after being tracked for hours through subdivisions in Ashland, Ky. (John Flavell - AP)

Does this fellow look familiar? Black bears are starting to come out of the woods in Fairfax County, just in time for tourist season.

Fairfax police had three reports Friday morning of a bear or bears spotted about 6:30 a.m. near Bennington Woods Road, Stowe Road and on a walking trail (which we suspect then became a running trail) near Autumn Wood Drive. The first seasonal report of a bear sighting came the day before at 6:30 a.m. near Holly Briar Lane in Great Falls.

Black bears are essentially tourists in this area, police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. “It’s really nothing to be alarmed about,” she said. “We do have bears that typically roam through this area” at this time of year. Like all visitors to the Washington area, after they see the sights, they look for food. The bear version of highly-sought-after food trucks are bowls of pet food, bird feed, produce from gardens and garbage cans full of odoriferous munchables.

They usually avoid humans.

To discourage the Ursus americanus, therefore, do not store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles. Take garbage to the curbside on the morning of pickup rather than the night before. If a bear is sighted in your neighborhood, remove bird feeders and outdoor pet food. If you spot a bear that seems to pose a threat to public safety, call animal control.

By  |  12:36 PM ET, 06/10/2011

 
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