ATHENS -- Approximately 70 or so different black bears are reported annually in the Buckeye State according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. While the population of Ohio's largest mammal may not exactly increase in 2017, sightings of black bears are expected to rise in the summer months.
ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists explained the young adult bears disperse annually, typically as a result of being driven off by their mother as she prepares for the breeding season. Male bears have a larger home range and may travel several hundred miles in search of a mate. Female bears have a smaller home range and seldom venture as far to establish territories.
If a bear is sighted, individuals should contact the Division of Wildlife District Office (740-589-9930) to report the sighting, and then leave the bear alone. Every year, some bear reports in Ohio are associated with nuisance situations. When people remove potential food sources, conflicts with bears often diminish. Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day and cleaning up after grilling out all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances.
Read more about what to do if you encounter a black bear in Ohio at wildohio.gov.
Efforts to monitor black bears in Ohio are supported by the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund, which receives donations through the sale of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps, the state income tax checkoff program and the purchase of cardinal license plates. More information is available at wildohio.gov.
The black bear is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and protected by state law.