Ohio Continues With Record Bear Sightings

Ohio DNR Wildlife Division, Bear Hunting Magazine

Ohio is not one of the states most people think of when thinking about black bears. But, over the last few years as the states that border Ohio continue to have booming black bear population, more are being pushed into the buckeye state.

The number of sightings in Ohio are rising and only expected to go higher. Ohio's Division of Wildlife says black bear sightings have jumped from around 30 in 1998 to 152 a year ago. Most have been found in the eastern half of the state, but some have been tracked as far west as Dayton.

Bears searching for new territory after being kicked out by their mothers and larger male bears come over from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is not uncommon for bears to travel over 100 miles in search of new areas to live.

Officials estimate there are between 50 to 100 black bears, mostly younger males, living in Ohio. These tend to be the ones that get into trouble by knocking over garbage cans and bird feeders to find an easy meal. Not to say that there are not some female's in the state, but they tend to be more reclusive and not as easily seen or caught.

Ohio researchers are working to trap two bears, one each in northeast and southeast Ohio, and attach GPS devices on them to better understand their movements.

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