ATHENS, Ohio — Last year, there were 164 black bear sightings reported in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.
Of that number, state wildlife personnel confirmed 64 of those sightings, an increase compared to the 51 confirmed sightings in 2009.
The confirmed sightings of 2010 occurred in 23 different counties and involved an estimated 31 different black bears, the Division of Wildlife reported.
Most of the reported bear sightings were in northeastern and south-central counties. Athens and Portage counties led the state reporting 13 sightings each.
Sightings occurred in every month of 2010 except January and December. The majority of bears were reported May through August, which is the peak of black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.
Twenty-nine of the 164 sightings involved damage or nuisance behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives and garbage containers. An estimated 19 individual bears were involved in these cases.
Across the state there were eight reported sightings of sows with cubs and two sightings of lone cubs.
For comparison, in 2009 state wildlife officials confirmed 51 of a total 119 black bear sightings. The confirmed sightings were in 21 counties and involved about 31 different black bears. A record 165 bear sightings was 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, and confirmed in 50 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and protected by state law.