Adolescent bear captured in Oak Hill

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – Living in bear country is just as intimidating as it is beautiful when the animals roam neighborhoods.

Oak Hill residents have dealt with a bear tearing apart their neighborhood for over a week. The Toneys say the bear got into their garbage several times while other neighbors say it went for their birdseed.

“They’re more likely to take advantage of other sources of food that are available like people’s garbage, bird feeders or pet food that’s left outside,” said NPS Chief of Natural Resources Bryan Wender. “Those are high-calorie food sources that can be easy targets for bears.”

Monday morning, DNR set a trap for the bear. By Wednesday, they were hauling it off for relocation.

“Preferably, [it’s taken] at least 60 to 70 miles away in hopes that he won’t return,” said DNR Wildlife Biologist Todd Dowdy. “Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. This bear is being moved right now.”

Officials say young bears tend to not be afraid of humans. When dealing with a bear, the West Virginia DNR says to bring in bird feeders, clean grills, and secure your garbage.

“If you find a bear in your backyard or on your deck or in your garage or a shed, the first thing you want to do is make yourself safe,” said Wender. “Once it’s gone, you want to go out and see why that bear was in your yard. Do you have an unsecured food source? If so, secure the food source.”

The teenage bear will live on in another area, but in extreme cases, bears may have to be euthanized. Wender says that if you have a concern, call the local DNR office.

Dowdy says the bear caught this morning only weighed about 60 pounds.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.