There’s a Bear in Them Thar Hills


A “cabin neighbor” who owns a hunting/summer cabin about 1/2 mile from my farm took these photos a couple of weeks ago with a motion-activated camera he has set up behind his cabin.

The black bear is the state animal of West Virginia, but I’ve never seen one or evidence of one around here.

But there’s at least one now 1/2 mile from my farm! Not sure how I feel about that. It might be cool to see a bear, but it’s also a little creepy. Plus, they eat stuff. Like farm animals.


  1. Flowerpower says:

    Oh dear! He looks pretty peaceful but then he is a carnivore. Maybe he was passing thru on a fall tour of the area! Him being around would put a whole new spin on keeping animals there. :bugeyed:

  2. CATRAY44 says:

    Maybe you should consider another G.P. to help Cocoa and put the bears on notice. And have your gun ready.

  3. dkyoung says:

    Yes, they’re certainly here in WV. We have a family living here on our hill – male, female, 2 cubs. They regularly visit us and our neighbors looking for food. They love birdfeeders. And one of them opened up our heavy oak trash bin last week, took out all the bags, and scattered trash all around. The male is the biggest bear I’ve ever seen. My son saw him on the front porch one night and said his back came exactly half way up the sliding glass door. I’ve seen him walking up the driveway and out in the field next to the house. We have about 2 acres fenced in with an underground fence for the dogs. I keep an eye on them during the day and at night, I only let them out in the fenced in dog run at the side of the house. Hopefully, the cats would be too fast to become bear food. I keep a loaded .357 by the front door and I’m very cautious when riding the 4-wheeler around the trails or going out to my jeep after dark. My grandson and his buddy are going bear hunting here this fall and I wish them good luck. I might try canning some bear meat to see if it changes the taste. Raw bear meat is greasy and a little funky tasting. We’ll see what happens.


  4. Glenda says:

    We are supposed to have a few in our area too. They migrated up from Arkansas. I have never seen one here. They worry me…but cougars and bobcats worry me more!

  5. LarryEiss says:

    Black Bears will eat meat, but that is not their primary food source by any means. The danger they present stems mostly from property damage. Here is a good article on the topic. I agree with the statement written near the beginning that Black Bears may be the least carnivorous of the carnivores of North America.

  6. Living From Scratch says:

    kill and eat him, theyre seriously good eats.

  7. Liz Pike says:

    Love the pics!! Creepy yes, but in all the years of having farm animals, and a mama bear who always had twins within a 1/2 mile of my farm, they never bothered the crops nor the critters!!

    (She’s still having twins 15 years later!! Funny story: we were driving down our long farm road and we saw a bear on the side of the road. My ex let my daughters out of the truck to get a closer look-see and what do they find when they open the truck?? Her CUBS on the other side of the truck!!! Those girls scrambled back inside and my ex got a nice tongue-lashing. My youngest who was 4 at the time (now 19) called me early this past summer and told me she’d spotted the mama with twins again this year.

    Now, it’s likely it’s a different bear, but I like to think it’s the same one they grew up with ; ))

  8. GA_in_GA says:

    Hopefully, the bear’s territory heads away from your farm. :yes:

  9. BuckeyeGirl says:

    Bears are very opportunistic and very much omnivores, they’ll eat whatever they can find wherever they can find it and in areas like yours, they aren’t much afraid of people. They’ll likely run from Coco because they prefer easy pickings and there’s lots of people around who put trash cans, dog food and bird feeders out where they can cruise the neighborhood and find lots to snack on. They’re probably less interested in chasing goats than finding dog food on the porch.

    I lived in Alaska for 7 years where Brown Bears were more a worry than Black Bears… though they all have BIG claws and teeth!!! :bugeyed:

  10. chickenherd says:

    Bears? Who’s afraid of bears? Out here in Michigan, we have cougars! Well, cougar, singular. And you should hear her scream! I used to sorta enjoy the novelty of a cougar, before she devoured my two dearest broody Turkens and a Gold-Laced Polish pullet and Pearl White Leghorn pullet and…and… and now I’m planning hunting parties. 😆

  11. TW says:

    I worked for Virginia Fish and Game (just office staff) years ago and it seemed the thing most often done by the back bear was that it would break in to sheds or barns or chicken coops to get the feed. They didn’t seem to do much of anything to the farm animals. But they could be pretty destructive as they tried to get to feed. So it’s best to have your feed contained where a bear can’t break in. Maybe your dogs will keep any bears away. If a bear succeeds at getting some food, it will be back.

  12. mackenzie93 says:

    I’ve never lived near either bears or cougars, but I’ve camped in their midst many times. Out west, back in the 70’s there were bear warning signs in some of the national parks, but nothing about cougars. Then ten years ago we went west again. One of our sons was a state class runner in training, but there were cougar warnings at many of the national parks. Cougars hang around in trees and jump you. They chase you down if you run. Give me a bear instead. But yes, I’d still feel a bit creepy having one living nearby.

  13. lattelady says:

    Eastern WA state here. Lots of bears (black and grizzlies), and cougars. The grizzlies usually stay up in the mountains, but on occasion show up.
    Now, I have live in the MIDDLE of a medium sized city and still have personally seen coyotes, many raccoons, one very young and obviously lost cougar, and many wild turkeys walking down my alley. Looking for unsecured foodstuffs. On occasion a moose will end up in someone’s backyard. You have been given good advice. Head’s up. YOU live in THEIR original territory.

  14. lavenderblue says:

    Wow! It would be thrilling to have them around. Around here everyone gets in a tizzy when we hear, once every fifteen years or so, that one might have been spotted passing through the swamps that are around this area. They are swamps, wetlands, they were designed to let wildlife roam. Around here people think all nature should be paved so that you can roller skate through it.

    Having said this, yeah, I’d take a gun with me to do my chores. Particularly, early in the morning or just at dusk. Although if you bang things and make loud noises I’ve heard black bears will probably just lumber off. What do the locals do? I’d ask them.

    And, yeah, I agree with chickenherd, I’d be more afraid of the big cats. You know you can’t trust a cat. Suzanne’s unlock doors. 😆

  15. Cheryl LeMay says:

    We have bears that live in our county – some only about 1/2 mile away. I have never seen them. I’ve heard that they will rip off your doors and window screens to get into your buildings. The DNR has told people not to feed the birds in the summer because they love bird feeders, including hummingbird feeders.We used to have bobcats around here but they seem to have disappeared. They never bothered my poultry.

  16. holstein woman says:

    We had one spotted below our house a couple of years ago and never heard another word about it. Never bothered any of our animals. I do think you have 2 other protectors of your herd however, and that is the donkeys. Mine would go ballitic :hissyfit: . He goes after the cows, so I know he would go after a bear. He was raised with his mother only and didn’t know any other animals existed until he was brought here. I really don’t have any experience with them. I have lived on both sides of this country and have NEVER had trouble with them.

  17. Anita says:

    Hmmmm. Our engineer at work has a cabin/farm in Roane County, and he just spent a week there. He always comes back with pictures of the bears from his motion-activated cameras – BUT I thought they were all tree-mounted. Hmmmm again. Your neighbor isn’t named Steve is he? lol

  18. Jersey Lady says:

    Oh my…a bear. I agree about not having any animal or pet food where he could get at it. He must be loading up on food to get fat before going into hibernation.

  19. wvhomecanner says:

    well I am glad that I didn’t see these BEFORE I stayed at the farm during Retreat LOL! WHOA :dancingmonster:


  20. whaledancer says:

    I agree that it might be time to think about getting Coco a large buddy or two. That’s what our church camp does to keep the bears away from the cabins and campers. That, and using bear-proof garbage cans. Bears are opportunists and generally go for the easy food sources, so it’s best not to give them easy targets. For goodness sake, don’t let it get ahold of any of your cookies, or it might just move in permanently!

  21. GrammieEarth says:

    For the most part, bears are omnivores…so I wouldn’t worry too much about your farm animals. They can be very destructive in trying to get to your farm animal food. I grew up in black bear country.
    I learned:
    make noise whilst in the woods
    back off any mama bear with cubs
    do NOT leave food around
    I have come across a Mama with cubs, and was escorted from the area with Mama gentle rumbles I was a willing escapee…so I sang some stupid song and backtracked!

    I have also eaten bear meat. Delicious when properly cared for in the ‘process’…downright gross if not handled properly. Rancid is a good word.

    Like most game, it is best when all fat and bone are removed before ‘putting down’. Even an occasional tuft of fur can make a good thing taste bad in a few months.

    I think there could be a bear bbq coming up soon :hungry: :eating:

  22. Miss Judy says:

    Coyotes are harder on your chicken and sheep flocks than a bear would be. However,I don’t want any bears around here!
    If you dump your garbage for the chickens to scratch through…better be careful.

  23. Darlene in North GA says:

    I live in a very small town in northern GA and every 3 or so years, you’ll hear the commotion in town as a bear goes walking down main street. He’s usually, darted and carted back off into the Cherokee National Forest. Personally, I think it’s the same bear finding his way back to where he was born. lol So far, he’s never bothered anyone, but I would not hang around to find out. They can be peaceful, but you never know what will set a wild animal off and then….VERY dangerous. Even docile sting rays – for those whom remember the Croc Hunter – Steve Irving. (Sting rays are very docile unless stepped on. Just shuffling your feet in the sand instead of taking steps will cause them to flee from you.)

  24. BrownSheep says:

    Aren’t you glad you have Coco. I wouldn’t worry too much. If you leave the dogs out they’ll definately inform you if there is a bear about. I definately doubt a bear would take on dogs when there’s easier pickings esle where.
    This may explain where your lambs went this spring

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