ATHENS, Ohio — One hundred-five black bear sightings were reported in 21 Ohio counties last year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Of that number, state wildlife personnel confirmed 38 sightings, a similar count to the 39 confirmed sightings in 2007. The confirmed sightings of 2008 occurred in 11 different counties and involved an estimated 29 different black bears, the Division of Wildlife reported.
Sightings occurred in every month of 2008. The majority of bears were reported May through August, which is the peak of black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.
Twenty of the 105 sightings involved damage or nuisance behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives, and garbage containers, as well as consumption of pet food. An estimated 19 bears were involved in these cases.
Most of the counties reporting bear sightings were in northeastern and southeastern Ohio. Ashtabula County led the state reporting 65 sightings.
Across the state there were three reported sightings of sows with cubs. In 2007, state wildlife officials confirmed 39 of a total 141 black bear sightings. The confirmed sightings were in 16 counties and involved about 19 different black bears.
A record 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 confirmed in 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
The black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and protected by state law.