Welcome Your New Neighbors: Black Bears

Virginia’s black bear population has made a tremendous comeback. Having dwindled to about 1,000 at midcentury, black bears in the Old Dominion now number between 18,000 and 20,000, reports The Virginia Mercury. Indeed, their numbers are increasing despite the fact that hunters are “harvesting” about 3,000 a year.

Personally, I can’t begin to understand how anyone would derive any pleasure from shooting a bear. If you want to take down a bear armed with a knife, you earn my respect. Shoot a bear from a safe distance, and I’m just appalled. But the fact is, bears have no natural predators (other than humans), and without hunters to cull them, before long they’ll be like deer — overrunning the state. Unlike deer, which spook easily, you might find bears rooting through your trash cans, eating from your bird feeders or wandering onto your porch.