Note: This story appears in the Tuesday, July 9 newspaper on Page A1.

WAVERLY — Some residents of a Pike County community had a bit of a surprise last Friday as a young black bear was reported roaming around the village.

According to the officers from the Waverly Police Department, the first call came in at 10:53 a.m. of a bear sighting. More calls came through as the bear was spotted cutting through some yards and crossing the streets.

A Facebook post from the police department read: “We are currently in pursuit of a bear. Citizens are in no danger, but please stay inside! When citizens come out it’s scaring the poor fella & making it harder to keep the bear contained.”

The post added that officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were headed to Waverly.

The wandering black bear eventually exited town through a field on the edge of town, disappearing into nearby foods and farm fields.

The police department reported that the bear “has returned home and citizens are clear to return to their daily activities.” ODNR did advise local residents to not leave food outside for the following few days and even suggested they clean their outdoor grills.

Witham said a yearling bear was recently spotted in the Minford area, and it is possible this could be the same bear.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s website offers tips on what to do if you encounter a bear.

“Black bears are usually fearful of people, therefore bear attacks are a rare occurrence,” the website states. “Bears do not attack or kill children or pets as long as the bear is given its space and not cornered.”

The Division of Wildlife advises residents to be “AWARE” —

  • “A
  • ct calm and do not run.
  • W
  • arn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.
  • A
  • llow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away. Do not make the bear feel trapped or threatened.
  • R
  • aise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.
  • E
  • xit the area.”

Black bears are still listed as having an endangered status in Ohio. The state’s bear population is estimated at 50 to 100 individual bears.

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Julie Billings is the sports editor of The Pike County News Watchman.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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