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Uninvited bears come for a visit and a swim

July 28, 2010|By TRISH RUDDER
  • Anke Linton and her daughter, Emily, were taken by surprise when two bears came into their yard at Crossings on the Potomac, a subdivision off W.Va. 901 near Hedgesville, W.Va.
Submitted photo,

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. -- The family swimming pool was too inviting to pass up for one of two black bears that wandered into a residential subdivision in Berkeley County on Tuesday afternoon.

Anke Linton and her daughter, Emily, were taken by surprise when two bears came into their yard at Crossings on the Potomac, a subdivision off W.Va. 901 near Hedgesville.

Anke Linton said she had opened the garage door to put a bike on the rack and left the door open. Soon after, she heard a noise in the garage from the kitchen, but thought the noise was her husband, she said.

But it was a bear ripping apart a plastic container with bird seed in it.

"I thought it was a dog," Linton said, because she could only see its ears.

But Emily saw that it was a bear, and then her mother saw it and started yelling at it, Linton said.

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The bear went to the driveway and "just looked at me, and I was yelling and it walked away," Linton said.

Then she saw a smaller bear sitting in the backyard and she tried to frighten it by making noises, "but that didn't scare it," she said.

The bear then walked around the swimming pool, walked down the steps, swam a lap, got out and walked away, she said.

Emily, 14, a Hedgesville High School student, took pictures of the bear at the pool, Linton said.

Linton said birdfeeders could not have attracted the bears since she has not put out bird seed for three months.

Chris Ryan, a wildlife section research supervisor with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, said the bears likely were looking for food, and this is the time of year they are passing through and on the move.

"They are curious and very smart," Ryan said Wednesday.

He said the bear in the Linton's garage probably found food in a similar container.

If bears become a nuisance and a safety issue, they can be destroyed by the DNR, which no longer moves them to a different location, Ryan said.

He said the main things people should do is remove any food or trash from the yard, and bring pet food and pet food dishes inside at night. He also said people should not put out bird seed this time of year.

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