ODNR: Black Bear Sightings Expected to Rise

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A warning from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources: keep your eyes out for black bears. This is the time of the year when sightings are expected to rise.

The summer months bring more than just plenty of sunshine and warm weather. May, June, July and August bring out the black bears.

"When they are breeding, the sows actually, basically kick out their young being their 18-month-old cubs, and these cubs are dispersing widely -- particularly males -- to find new home ranges," said Wildlife Management Supervisor Scott Peters.

Last year, over 30 black bears were confirmed in Ohio. One way to keep the burly creatures away from your backyard and neighborhood is to clean up after yourself.

"That even includes pet food dishes, outside gas grills, charcoal grills, bird feeders, you name it," Peters said.  "Any potential food attractants smell or actual food is going to draw in bears."

If you see a black bear, you are encouraged to call the Ohio Division of Wildlife to make a report.  You are also encouraged to enjoy the rare sighting, but keep your distance.

"It's okay to watch an animal from a distance, but you definitely don't want to approach that animal or encroach on its personal space," said Peters.

The city of Twinsburg has had its fair share of black bears sightings over the last few years, so it's no wonder why residents are on extra alert for black bears.

"My wife and I like to go to the park, so now when I go, I guess I'll be a little more aware of my surroundings," said Twinsburg resident Paul Weitzman.

Black bears are very similar to raccoons, possums and skunks when it comes to finding food and territory, so be sure to keep an eye on young children and family pets.

"It's the same thing, almost like in Florida, with alligators," said Weitzman. "It's the same mentality."

The majority of black bears have been confined to northeast Ohio, but also can be found near fields, woods, urban and suburban areas.

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