Black Bear Sightings Increase In Ohio

Ohio DNR - Wildlife Division, Bear Hunting Magazine

Biologists in Ohio estimate around 23 individual black bears accounted for 37 confirmed sightings in 14 northeast Ohio counties in 2012. This number is up from 26 confirmed sightings in 2011.

“We experienced two or three specific bears that were very active and therefore highly visible to Geauga and Portage county residents,” said Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor for District Three Division of Wildlife.

Sightings were reported beginning in late February and continuing each month through mid-December. The majority of bears were reported May through August, the peak of black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.

Of the 37 confirmed sightings, 15 were confirmed as conflict or nuisance behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives, and garbage containers, as well as consumption of pet food.

Trumbull County lead northeast Ohio with ten confirmed sightings, followed by Portage with six and Ashtabula, Geauga, and Mahoning counties with five confirmed sightings each. Confirmed sightings include such details as photographs, tracks, scat, and reports directly from wildlife officials.

The Division of Wildlife began formally keeping records of black bear observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been confirmed in over half of Ohio’s 88 counties. Most observations occur in northeast and southern Ohio.

The black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and protected by state law.

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