Bear sighted in Great Falls

A bear made its way into the Maye family's backyard. (Photo: John Paul Maye)

Great Falls resident John Maye never thought he'd come close to a black bear.

“My wife screamed... a bear's in the backyard,” he says.

It was Thursday night, around 7:30 p.m., when the black-furred visitor made his appearance behind Holly Brier Drive.

“I looked out, and he was walking along on our deck,” Katherine Maye says.

The black bear marked the first seasonal sighting of a bear in northern Virginia.

The Maye aren't the only ones with a furry visitor. The bear, described as medium-sized, was sighted Thursday at around 6:30 a.m. crossing a road near Hollyview Drive heading toward the woods. Police also received reports on Friday at about 6:30 a.m. near Bennington Woods Road, Stowe Road.

“I hear like this crazy screeching sound,” describes Reston resident Russell Fairhurst.

Fairhurst was taking his dog Lucky out around 11 p.m. Thursday night when they spotted something moving in a brush.

“It was way too big to be the fox that we saw around here or we often see deer, but never that type of rustling through the woods,” Fairhurst said.

Animal control officers said it’s not unusual to see black bears around this time of year and residents shouldn’t panic. In general, bears avoid humans but may come into contact with developments when searching for food.

Some tips:
Do not store trash on porches, decks or in vehicles.
Consider installing electric fencing around gardens, dumpsters and other potential wildlife sources. Electric fencing is an inexpensive and efficient proven deterrent against bears.

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