Historically, black bears roamed the Buckeye State. Unfortunately, unregulated hunting and habitat loss rendered bears extirpated from Ohio by 1850. Today, Ohio is again home to a small but growing population of black bears.
It’s almost summer, which is a peak time for bear movement! Dispersing young black bears will often travel great distances in search of new habitat and are most likely to be seen by humans during this time. Bears are omnivores, meaning they will eat a wide variety of foods. Depending on the season, their diet may include grasses, forbs, berries, mast from oak, hickory, and beech trees, carrion, and insect larvae. Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances.
If you see a bear, you can contact your local Division of Wildlife District Office or report the sighting online – but always leave the bear alone. We rely on reports of black bears and other species to help track their population trends. If you observe or receive a report of a species you want us to know about, please report it at wildohio.gov/reportwildlife or call 1-800-WILDLIFE.