Updated Tue, Apr 29, 2014 3:58 pm
West Virginia officials are reminding residents that it's against the law to feed black bears.
The state Division of Natural Resources says that in addition to being a violation of state law, feeding black bears does a disservice to the animals.
Officials say bear populations have increased in both number and distribution in the past 20 years. Bears are now found in areas where they've been absent for decades and have been reported in all 55 counties.
Bears quickly become accustomed to handouts in the form of trash, bird seed, pet food and feed placed out for other animals, causing them to lose their fear of humans.
Officials are forced to humanely kill animals that resort to raiding garbage, outdoor freezers, storage sheds, vehicles and other structures associated with people.