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Black Bear Sightings Increasing in Ohio


Ohio – In earlier years the Black Bear roamed the Ohio State and was seen quite frequently but due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss, the Black Bear was reduced in numbers and almost completely extirpated in Ohio in the mid-1850s.  Since then the Black Bear has been moving back into the State, mostly from the Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky borders.  According to the Map of sightings from 2018 Hocking, Vinton, and Ross Counties have seen several dozen sightings.

Summertime is when Black Bears do the most movements and the Ohio Division of Wildlife wants you to be prepared on how to not lure these bears into your area.

“Bears are omnivores, meaning they will eat a wide variety of foods. Depending on the season, their diet may include grasses, forbs, berries, mast from oak, hickory, and beech trees, carrion, and insect larvae. Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances,” said the Division of Wildlife.

If you see a bear, you can contact your local Division of Wildlife District Office or report the sighting online – but always leave the bear alone. We rely on reports of black bears and other species to help track population trends. If you observe or receive a report of a species you want us to know about, please report it at wildohio.gov/reportwildlife or call 1-800-WILDLIFE.

What happens if you encounter a Black Bear in the wild?  Black Bears are not an aggressive species of bear and are rarely attacked, and won’t usually attack if not cornered.  The best thing to do is to slowly back away from the bear and do not give direct eye contact with the bear.  Always give the bear a route to escape as it most likely will want to escape as soon as possible.  DO NOT RUN, this will provoke a chase, warning the bear you are there in a calm voice is a way to make it run away.  If a bear were to charge put your hands up in the air and make yourself bigger than the bear.  Most Black Bears are around 150 lbs or smaller so adults men/women are usually taller than them.