You live in BEAR COUNTRY!

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I love that headline from the Virginia Department of Game. They get slightly more precise near the end of the release: Remember, if you live in Virginia, you live in bear country. Sounds a little hyperbolic, no? Check out this map on the VDGIF website

Click to expand or go look at the original page, but in a nutshell the aqua color indicates “occupied” and yellow indicates where there are occasional sightings. They’re nice enough to provide an item on the key for “rare/unoccupied” but there’s not an inch of it on the map.

Before you put on your coonskin cap and grab your musket, however, consider how poorly “occasional” is defined. The Virginia Black Bear Management Plan[pdf] makes the prospect of bear home invasion seem a lot less likely. The habitat picture is a lot more restrained:

That’s not to say folks in Loudoun and Fairfax should be too shocked if they come across a bear; The management plan says a male bear’s range can encompass 300 square miles. It’s about 50 miles as the crow flies out to Berryville, which sits firmly inside bear habitat. If it’s going to happen, this is the most likely time: the bears are pigging out as they try to regain weight they lost while hibernating.

If you’re one of our Virginia readers and you see one, stay the hell away. Even small bears can be dangerous and tiny ones often have larger ones nearby. The VDGIF webpage on living with bears (sounds like a San Francisco sitcom) offers more details and the video linked above.

Well I used to say something in my profile about not quite being a “tinker, tailor, soldier, or spy” but Tom stole that for our about us page, so I guess I’ll have to find another way to express that I am a man of many interests.

Hmm, guess I just did.

My tastes run the gamut from sophomoric to Shakespeare and in my “professional” life I’ve sold things, served beer, written software, and carried heavy objects… sometimes at the same place. It’s that range of loves and activities that makes it so easy for me to love DC – we’ve got it all.


4 thoughts on “You live in BEAR COUNTRY!

  1. I count 9 counties on the map that are “Rare/Unoccupied”, mostly along the Atlantic coast there and on the Eastern Shore.

  2. Ah! Good eye – the whole field looked yellow to me, but now that you say that (and I squint) I see those spots.

    It’s somewhat surprising – the other map shows a habitat cluster down in the south-east corner of Virginia – you’d think it would be less likely for those mainland areas to be sighting-free than other spots farther north or west.

  3. Last autumn, a dozen toddlers were playing on a playground off of Route 29 in Gainesville. They had just come inside when a huge black bear ran through the playground. We saw it all through the window.

    We saw a bear in our backyard recently (Fauquier County).

    My neighbor just had her bird feeder destroyed by a bear.

    I want to grow berry bushes, but I am afraid.

    The population is growing out of control. Mark my words, another infant or child is going to be killed in his or her backyard soon. But one or more deaths is acceptable to environmentalists.