About Wildlife in our Community
(September 19, 2018) – Bears, deer, coyotes, and other wildlife are present in many urban, suburban, and rural communities. It is a fact of modern life that human development has greatly encroached upon wildlife habitats. Cacapon South is certainly no exception to this, especially since it lies between Cacapon State Park and Sleepy Creek Wildlife Refuge.
As recently as June 2017, the Board has sent messages to the community with suggestions related to this issue. Board members have talked with Cacapon State Park naturalists and park rangers in addition to WV wildlife experts, before sending out recommendations for dealing with this situation.
The Board’s general wildlife recommendations are as follows:
- Do NOT feed wildlife. Wildlife experts recommend not putting out feed for deer. This poses more danger to the deer than you might expect. Many sources have indicated that “deer corn” can be contaminated by aflatoxin, which can cause illness and death to deer and other wildlife. The feed also tends to make deer congregate, thereby facilitating the spread of diseases such as chronic wasting disease. Feeding deer additionally draws bears, coyotes, and other less desirable types of wildlife to the area.
- Bring bird feeders in at night. If left out, bears and other wildlife may destroy the feeder, and wildlife visits to seek out the feeder tends to increase.
- Keep pets indoors, and on a leash when outdoors. Letting pets roam exposes them to all kinds of diseases and possible attacks from wildlife. Do not leave food outside for pets or other animals such as feral cats.
The WV Department of Natural Resources has published a new PDF brochure about Nuisance Black Bears in West Virginia.
Bears, like all wildlife, are seeking and are attracted to food. Pet food, animal feed, and bird feed are examples of items that attract bears. Even smells originating from the food inside a house, garage, shed, or trash cans can attract bears, which have a keen sense of smell. Bears and other wildlife should not be approached, and we should take all practical measures to discourage them from becoming aggressive.
Reported incidents in our area include bears tearing screens, damaging bird feeders, and emptying trash cans. Bears and other wildlife should not be approached, and we should take all practical measures to discourage them from becoming aggressive. Bears are very active in early spring and late fall.
Below is a summary of some recommendations compiled from various sources specifically designed to keep bears away from your property. Some are expensive, but most can be done at little or no expense. The Board offers the following for your consideration:
- Close and lock windows and doors. Bolt and reinforce doors.
- Alarm systems, infrared motion detectors, and motion-activated lights can help startle a bear enough to leave the area.
- All bird feeders (seed, suet, nectar) should be brought inside each evening.
- Do not leave pet food outside.
- Do not feed deer or other wildlife.
- Clean barbecue grills after each use, and store inside if possible.
- Bear-proof trash cans can be used. Keep trash cans clean and free of odors.
- IMPORTANT: Place ammonia-saturated paper towels in trash cans whenever they are taken outside for trash pickup!
- Scents wafting from inside your house/garage or from inside trash cans be attractive to bears.
- Fruit trees and compost piles may also attract bears.