POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Many have been spending their days hunkering down in and out of public spaces. This is why a few neighborhoods have encouraged others to go “on a bear hunt.”
Meagan Bonecutter, a resident near Mossman Circle in Point Pleasant, W.Va., saw neighborhoods in other states were hiding bears in their windows for children to spot them as an activity and a distraction from the current events. Bonecutter asked her neighbors to place bears in their windows, porches or yards.
There is a book called “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” which can be found online.
“We read that book and we decided we would go on our own bear hunt to see if anybody would play along,” Bonecutter said. She first started asking her neighbors to participate on Sunday night and Monday morning. By Monday evening, they saw around 20 neighbors playing along. By Tuesday there were around 30. Bonecutter said around 75 percent of her neighborhood has bears displayed at their houses.
Even the Mason County 911 Dispatch Center and ambulances have bears displayed.
“My neighbors, the ones setting out the bears, are having a time with it,” Bonecutter said. “As we’re walking, we’ll talk to them from a distance, they get a kick out of it. A lot of them will change the hiding place every day.”
Bonecutter said she and her children take daily walks around the loop, but they’ve seen several older couples driving around — which offers a fun way to get out of the house, without being in the public, during the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“I’ve had no complaint of my kids getting exercise at all,” Bonecutter said. “They’re loving it.”
Bonecutter hopes that the fun can continue as long as the stay-at-home order is in effect.
“My hope is that it can spread around town and this county and we can keep it going as long as possible,” Bonecutter said. “During this gloomy, uneasy, uncertain time, it is something fun. I know for my kids, it’s the highlight of their day and it’s making them smile.”
There are Facebook groups in the area, most named “Going on a bear hunt,” that have addresses or residences where bears can be found. At lease one of these groups is for Meigs County, Ohio, and one is for Meigs, Gallia and Mason Counties. Bonecutter said she heard there are “bear hunts” in the Bend Area of Mason County, W.Va. as well.
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Kayla Hawthorne is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.