The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

What if I meet a wild black bear in the woods in West Virginia?


​​​You might have heard that black bears are increasing in population in West Virginia. What should you do if you see one when you're hiking in the woods? Do you need to be concerned?

The bear population has been increasing here, it's true, but I've hiked thousands of miles in the state and have never seen one, so I wouldn't let the fear of meeting a bear dissuade me from enjoying the outdoors. No fatal attack by a black bear has ever been confirmed in West Virginia.

As to what you might do, or how you might avoid a bear encounter, it's important to understand a bit about black bear behavior.

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