By Terry Harris, Staff Writer
4:34 p.m. | August 17, 2017
SURRY – At the August Surry County Board of Supervisors meeting, Emergency Services Coordinator Ray Phelps announced that due to increased black bear sightings in the area, A Bear Aware Class will be offered by the Surry County Department of Emergency Service, Surry County Animal Control, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Peter Acker with Games and Inland Fisheries will give the presentation on September 5 at 7 PM at Surry County General District Court, 45 School Street, Surry.
According to Phelps, “With an increase of bear sightings, what we wanted to do was inform area citizens what actions to take around their property to prevent the bears from wanting to come there. We’re putting this class together to show people how to properly prepare their property – things like don’t throw scraps outside, clean up after a barbecue.”
Phelps said that they will also provide information on what to do if a bear does show up at their area, and what actions are legal to take. One of the stated goals for holding the class, according to Phelps, is to educate the public on topics ranging from how to scare away bears if they do come on your property (make loud noises) to what practices and times are legal – and illegal – for the trapping or hunting of bears.
“There’s always been bears here,” he added. “Surry County is a big timber county and there’s always logging, so bears are always looking for a new home. I believe the bear population is increasing and more people are seeing them, so if they feel there’s too many bears, there’s a way that they can do their part.”
Phelps added that Sussex and Isle of Wight Counties have also been invited to attend the free class, and that anyone with questions concerning the bear situation or the class can call 757-294-5205 for further information.