WAYNESBORO, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- People may notice a bear in their area, and there is a simple reason for it.

The animals are looking for easier food sources, such as pet food left outside and trash cans.

According to Alex Wehrung from the Wildlife Center of Virginia, people can expect most black bears to look for food from sunset to sunrise.

In order to prevent them from coming to visit, bring in things that might have a lingering smell, such as pet food, and thoroughly clean grills and barbeques.

"That surprises people about bears. It's just how phenomenal their sense of smell is," said Wehrung. "It's estimated that they can catch the scent of a food item from up to a mile away, which is greater than even a bloodhound. So things like a grill or a backyard barbecue, if it's not thoroughly cleaned, any residue of food or even a scent of food residue can attract a bear to that area."

He also says most healthy bears will try to stay away from humans, so when out on a hike, make noise to let animals know your whereabouts. Dogs also need to be kept on leashes.

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