Black Bears on the move in Ohio

Black bear sighting in Geauga county

NEWBURY TOWNSHIP - Doug Brown loves the outdoors.

He lives in a beautiful corner of Newbury Township on a property that has woods, waters, and wildlife. His bird feeder attracts all kinds of wildlife, and Wednesday evening, he saw something new.


"I was surprised to see a large black bear turning my birdfeeder into a buffet," Jones said.

He and his significant other have traveled to Yellowstone National Park many times over the last 25 years to camp and check out the wildlife. They had caught glimpses of bears at a distance, so seeing the bear in his yard was special. "I never would have thought I wouldn't have to leave my yard to get that close to a bear."

After calling his significant other, Doug grabbed his camera and took several pictures and even a little video. He remembered, "The bear wasn't real worried about me. He'd glance over but then get right back to his meal."

Black bears are not uncommon in Northeast Ohio, especially in Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula counties. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything, including bird seed. 

It's always a good idea to take down bird feeders, clean and put outdoor grills in your garage, and don't leave trash outside. Bears are always looking for an easy meal.

If you see a bear, don't panic. Stay calm and slowly put distance between you and the animal. They do not like loud noises, so yell, wave your arms, and make noise. Doug "yelled" his bear into the woods but he came back so Doug took action. "I went in the house and got two frying pans and started clanging them together. He didn't like that and took off into the woods."

Many kinds of animals are on the move right now, especially young ones. Please remember they are wild animals and need to be left alone. Never approach any wild animal. It could lead to a very bad encounter. In this case, Doug was very happy to have seen the bear. He said "It could be a once in a lifetime thing." 

For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear or any wildlife, check out the Ohio Division of Wildlife page.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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