ROME, Ohio (WJW) — A FOX 8 News viewer from Rome sent in doorbell camera footage of a black bear’s early morning visit to her home.

The video shows the critter leaving wet paw prints across Brianna Elmore’s wooden porch as it sniffs about, presumably looking for breakfast on Wednesday, May 3.

It was a first-time sighting for Elmore, she told FOX 8 News.

“We live close to the Grand River, so we do get a lot of deer through our yard and some raccoons and possum occasionally, but never a bear!” she said.

By the time she and her boyfriend got to the door, the bear was rifling through their trash. He left soon after, she said.

Black bear sightings in Ohio

Black bears are most active in the early morning or late evening, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Forested areas in Northeast Ohio are some of the best places to see the imposing but otherwise skittish creatures, including Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Trumbull and Tuscarawas counties.

Ashtabula County had 206 confirmed sightings between 1993 and 2018, according to a 2018 monitoring report — the most out of all Ohio’s 88 counties, followed by Trumbull County to the south.

What to do if you spot a black bear

Black bears are non-aggressive and afraid of people and don’t often attack unless cornered. If you happen to spot one, you should slowly back away from the area and avoid direct eye contact. A helpful mnemonic is to be AWARE, according to ODNR:

  • 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 away slowly. 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

You can report a wildlife sighting via the ODNR website, or by calling your local Division of Wildlife office.