Bear sightings on slight decrease
Athens, Ohio – According to the DNR Division of Wildlife, 152
black bear sightings were reported in Ohio last year.
Of that number, state wildlife personnel confirmed 60 sightings,
which is a slight decrease compared to the 64 confirmed sightings
The 2011 confirmed sightings occurred in 19 different counties and
involved an estimated 38 different black bears. Most of the
reported bear sightings were in northeastern counties. Ashtabula
and Geauga counties led the state, reporting 20 and 22 sightings,
Sightings occurred in every month of 2011; however, the majority of
bears were reported in May through August, which is the peak of
black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.
Thirty-six of the 152 sightings involved destruction or nuisance
behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives, and garbage
containers. An estimated 20 individual bears were involved in these
cases. Across the state, there were four reported sightings of sows
with cubs and one sighting of lone cubs.
For comparison, in 2010 state wildlife officials confirmed 64 of a
total 164 black bear sightings. The confirmed sightings were in 23
counties and involved about 31 different black bears. A record of
165 bear sightings were reported in 2002.
The Division of Wildlife began formally keeping records of black
bear observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been
reported in 58 counties and confirmed in 50 of Ohio’s 88
Native to Ohio, the black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and
protected by state law. To report a possible sighting, call
Efforts to monitor the black bear have been supported by the
Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund, which receives
donations from Ohioans through the state income tax check-off
program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates. Individuals
wanting to donate to the fund can also donate online at