Pickaway – A confirmed black bear sighting has been confirmed by the local Park Manager who is warning parkgoers of a bear in the area.
According to Mark Hoffhines State Park Manager for A.W. Marion State Park (Hargus Lake), they have had confirmed multiple sightings of a mother bear and cub in and around the park. According to Hoffhines, they will have extra staff in the park until signs are posted.
Black Bears are normally active in the early morning and late in the evening especially in areas that have people. Most of the time black bears are not aggressive animals, but mother bears can show aggression when having a young cub. Young Bears tend to stay with their mother from the time they are born until they are around One and a half years of age, then they break off on their own to find their own territory.
Bears can move throughout the area, up to a hundred miles in range.
If you see a bear, do not run, instead announce that you are there with, “Hey bear, hey bear” and slowly back away. Bears can run around 35 mph, and black bears can climb trees. If you sight a bear you can directly contact ODNR by calling #ODNR.
Black bears once roamed all of Ohio. Unfortunately, unregulated hunting and habitat destruction led to black bears completely disappearing from the state by the 1850s. In recent years, black bears from West Virginia and Pennsylvania have been recolonizing parts of eastern Ohio on their own. The vast majority of these black bears are young males that are trying to find their own territory and potential mates. These young males generally don’t stick around an area permanently and instead roam around looking for just the “right” place.
It’s important that residents and visitors know how to peacefully coexist alongside these native animals. Here are some tips to be bear aware:
➤ Secure and lock up your trash at home to deter black bears from rummaging through it.
➤ When camping, secure all smellable items (e.g., food, trash, deodorant) out of the reach of bears. Store smellable items in a properly-hung bear bag, secured in a bear canister, or packed away in a locked vehicle.
➤ Do not let your dog roam off-leash. Dogs can readily provoke black bears, and most black bear attacks on humans involve dogs in some capacity. Remember that all dogs must be leashed when on a trail or at developed recreation site.
➤ If you encounter a black bear, 1) stay calm, do not run, and move slowly, 2) firmly speak to the bear and make yourself look large, 3) and back away slowly. If the bear begins to approach, try to scare it away by making yourself as large and imposing as possible by stretching your arms overhead and making loud noises.
➤ Never feed a black bear (or any wild animal). A fed bear is a dead bear.
Learn more tips to be bear aware: https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go/bears