Note: This story appears in the Thursday, July 18 newspaper on Page A3.
LOGAN — It’s not Bigfoot out the window, but his black bear friend that might find its way into your sights.
There have been numerous sightings and reports of a black bear roaming around Hocking County, and most recently spotted near Lake Logan. One particular bear was sighted this past Saturday at Lake Logan Road and Route 180, close to Route 33.
According to Hocking County’s State Wildlife Officer Chris Dodge, it is not uncommon to have an increase in bear sightings this time of year.
Dodge predicted the bear was about a year-and-a-half in age, and by that age, a bear’s mother puts the responsibility on the young cub to search for its own home and mate.
Once the bear finds what it needs, it will no longer have the want to wander.
“This one is just searching for a new home and some food,” Dodge said. “Until it finds everything it needs, it’ll keep walking through.”
Dodge reported he has been tracking this particular bear for awhile as it has been spotted throughout the county. With a trail camera, Dodge said the bear has traveled Route 374 as it moves through multiple townships and is closing in on Cantwell Cliffs.
“I think, with the way the bear is moving, it’ll just keep moving through,” he said. “My guess is it will probably, eventually, leave the county.”
A bear will not cause any violence with a human as long as there is no need. According to Dodge, bears do not want to be around people, just as people do not want to be around bears.
“Basically, as long as it is not causing too big of a problem, it’ll move somewhere south and less populated,” he added.
Because the bear is isolated from others of its species, it must hunt for itself, which is reasoning behind why some trash may be found missing or scattered.
According to Logan resident Terry Kline, the bear Dodge has been tracking strolled down his driveway and into the woods.
“I was shocked,” Kline told The Logan Daily News. “I never thought I would see a bear coming down the driveway.”
The bear, to an untrained eye, was large, but Kline said he found out it was a young one. Knowing the bear roamed his property, Kline said he now has his guard up when he walks out the door.
“When I went outside, I kept an eye out, just incase, but I never saw him again,” he said.
When the bear disappeared into the woods, he came back awhile later and crossed through Kline’s neighbor’s yard as he headed toward his next destination.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has links on their website telling readers what to do if they encounter a bear and other useful tips dealing with black bears.
What to do if you encounter a bear:
- Act calm and do not run.
- Warn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.
- Allow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away. Do not make the bear feel trapped or threatened.
- Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.
- Exit the area.
More information can be found at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/nuisance-wildlife/black-bears-in-ohio.
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Emily Moore is a reporter for The Logan Daily News.