Bear Sightings in Staunton

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

STAUNTON -- There is some unwanted company in one area of the Valley. Several bear sightings are being reported and the animal is getting a little too close for comfort.

Al Bourgeois with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said bear sightings in the Valley are quite common. He said the problem isn't the bear, the problem is how people react.

"They're not a threat to people. These bears are primarily looking for food," said Bourgeois.

Betty Bernhardt lives in Staunton. She said she was shocked when she heard about the reports.

"I would be afraid of it being around dogs and children. Because you never know. But I guess if it's not a momma bear, then it might not be as aggressive," said Bernhardt.

One report said the bear was seen in Staunton at the Rite-Aid on North Coalter Street near Mary Baldwin College.

Bernhardt said she isn't sure what to do if she saw one.

"I would say, 'Oh My God there's a Bear!' That's what I would say. Because it just would be very unusual but I guess it's possible," said Bernhardt.

Bourgeois said the bear wouldn't attack.

"Most of the time what people need to do is, make a loud noise. Bang pans together, yell. Say 'Hey get out of here' and the bear is going to run," said Bourgeois.

Bernhardt hopes that the bear will be caught soon.

"I am sure they are on it and they will have it very shortly. Unless it decided to go back where it came from," said Bernhardt.

Bourgeois said they still haven't found the bear and haven't heard of any other reports. He said enjoy the moment and take a picture if you see one.

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