Bear Cart Program

About the Program

With the help of matching funding in the amount of $10,000 from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, (VDWR), the Town of Christiansburg has purchased 35 bear-resistant trash carts. 

The acquisition of these carts allows the Christiansburg Solid Waste Department to provide bear-resistant trash carts to residents in neighborhoods where the VDWR has received the most complaints. 

These bear-resistant trash carts will be distributed on a first come first served basis. Priority for issuing the carts will be given to residents who do not have a garage or an accessory storage building that provides protective storage for their trash carts. 

The bear-resistant carts distributed to residents will remain the property of the Town of Christiansburg. 

Additional purchases of these bear-resistant trash carts by the town will be subject to available funding. Questions on the Bear-Resistant Carts Program may be addressed to the Public Works Department Office of Solid Waste Management

Why the need?

With a healthy and growing black bear population, bear sightings during the spring and summer months are not unusual in Virginia. However, bears showing up in areas where they have not been seen before can cause quite a stir.

While the highest concentration of bears occurs in the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains and around the Great Dismal Swamp, bears are likely to be seen just about anywhere in Virginia. In a recent survey of DWR field staff, during the last 4 years bears have occurred in 85 of Virginia’s 98 counties/cities.

Late spring to early summer is the breeding season for the black bear. Adult males may roam well beyond their normal range searching for mates. Adult females breed every other year and give birth from mid-January to early February. Females that have raised cubs for the past 1½ years are ready to breed again, and the young are ready to be on their own and establish new home ranges. While young females generally establish a home range near that of their mother, young males may need to roam widely to establish a new home range.

Bears generally avoid humans, but they may wander into suburban areas. So, what should you do if you see a bear? The most important response is to keep a respectful distance. A black bear would rather flee than have an encounter with people. Always remember that a bear is a wild animal, and never, ever feed a bear under any circumstances. When bears lose their fear of people, trouble is not far away.

The best way to encourage a bear to move on is to remove the food source that is attracting it. Do this by cleaning up or removing trash, pet food, livestock feed, bar-b-que grills, and bird feeders. Do not store household trash in vehicles or on porches or decks. Take your garbage to the dump frequently, and if you have a trash collection service, put your trash out the morning of the pickup, not the night before.

If you do see a bear in your area, enjoy watching it from a distance. Report any problems by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources at (804) 367-1000 so that the information can be passed on to a Conservation Police Officer assigned to your area.

If a wild animal has been injured or truly orphaned, locate a licensed wildlife rehabilitator by calling the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ toll-free wildlife conflict helpline at 1-855-571-9003, 8:00AM-4:30PM, Monday through Friday or visit the licensed wildlife rehabilitator section on VDWR website.

In Virginia, it is illegal to feed bears on public or private land. Unfortunately, bears can be attracted to residential property through inadvertent feeding (bird feeders, pet food, and trashcans). But with some simple steps, you can reduce the chances of bears making repeated visits to your neighborhood or property. Secure your garbage in bear resistant trash cans or store it in a secure building Remove bird feeders if a bear is in the area. Don’t leave pet food outdoors. Make sure your neighbors are following the same recommendations.