RICHMOND, VA- As spring approaches, both people and wild animals become more active. The spring months are a busy time for wildlife, especially black bears as they emerge from their winter dens hungry and in search of an easy meal. During this time of increased activity, it is important for homeowners to secure all potential food sources to reduce bear encounters on their property.

Natural foods can be scarce during the early spring, so bears often look for easy food sources. These sources may be your garbage, compost pile, barbeque grills, birdseed, and pet food stored outside. “The goal is to make human sources of food harder for a bear to get than what nature provides — especially food that is high in fat and calories,” says Nelson Lafon, Forest Wildlife Program Manager for the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.