Black Bear's In Ohio...


Guidelines to Experiencing Ohio's Expanding Black Bear Population



It is important we understand a little about the biology and habits of the black bear if we are to coexist comfortably with this Ohio resident.

Most black bears range in size from 100 to 400 pounds, are 5 to 6 feet in length and average 3 feet high at the shoulder. The majority of bears in Ohio weigh between 125-250 pounds, and are juvenile male bears. Dispersing young black bears will often travel great distances in search of new habitat and are most likely to be seen by or interact with humans. These bears are extremely agile and are able to run up to 35 mph, climb trees with ease and swim long distances. Bears are omnivores, meaning they will eat a wide variety of foods. Depending on the season, their diet may include grasses, forbs, berries, mast from oak, hickory, and beech trees, carrion, and insect larvae. Bears will also consume agricultural crops, if available.

 

Bear-Proofing Your Backyard

Black bears are large animals and can cause significant damage while in search of an easy meal. If your yard is being visited by a black bear there are several things that must be done to ensure that the animal doesn’t become a “problem bear”. A “problem bear” can be defined as an animal that has lost its natural fear of humans and habitually causes property damage while in search of food. In this instance all potential food attractants must be removed from the area. This includes:

What To Do If You Encounter a Bear

Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence. Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and not cornered. The first thing to do when you see a bear is REMAIN CALM. Generally, black bears are non-aggressive and prefer to flee from the area as soon as they are aware of your presence. If you encounter a bear, and it is not aware of your presence, simply back away from the area slowly. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route and again, simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase. An easy way to remember this is to be AWARE:

Bear Relocation

The Ohio Division of Wildlife does not relocate bears just because one is present in an area. Bears live in Ohio year round. They will continue to come back to a location if food sources are available to them. Hazing the bear off is the first step in dealing with nuisance bears. Black bears are only relocated if DOW personnel determine 1) the animal is in a situation where escape is unlikely, 2) it is a threat to public safety, or 3) a sociological conflict is probable.

Report a Black Bear Observation

To report observations of black bears contact your local county wildlife officer or regional District Wildlife Office.