Scaring bears with paintball guns - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Scaring bears with paintball guns

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Looking into a your backyard and seeing a bear is something that would scare many people.

Earlier this week we told you about several suggestions the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have for keeping bears away, one of those stuck out to many of our viewers-- paintball. Dan Lovelace, a district wildlife biologist for the department explained their reasoning behind that suggestion.

"The bear is aggravated by it," says Lovelace. "They want to get away from it and generally they will leave the area. Multiple exposures to paintball impacts might lead to it wanting to go somewhere else."

Not everyone agrees with this method. Joshua Trelease, owner of Tiger Paintball says shooting a bear could do a lot more than just scare it away.

"It's a significant speed," says Trelease. "And it could have a dramatic effect when it hits a person or target or whatever you're shooting it at. To shoot at a bear, you could dramatically injure the bear if you shoot it in the eye."

While he's never shot a bear, Joshua has been hit with paintballs. He says he's not sure how being hit may cause an animal to react.

"If you were to shoot an animal, it could have a range of effects," says Trelease. "You could irritate the animal and cause it to come towards you, you could injure the animal and scare it away."

Lovelace says it's important to make sure there's nothing like trash or bird food attracting the bears to our yard, and the paintball gun may not be necessary. It may also be worth considering that paint from the gun could be bringing those unwanted visitors even closer.

"Dogs like eating paintballs," says Trelease. "So that could be true for bears as well."

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