LOGAN — It’s not Bigfoot out the window, but his black bear friend might find it’s way into your sights in Hocking County.
There have been numerous sightings and reports of a black bear roaming around Hocking County, and most recently spotted near Lake Logan. One particular bear was sighted Saturday at Lake Logan Road and state Route 180, close to U.S. 33.
According to Hocking County’s State Wildlife Officer Chris Dodge, it is not uncommon to have an increase in bear sightings this time of year.
Dodge predicted the bear was about a year and a half in age, and by that age, a bear’s mother puts the responsibility on the young cub to search for their own home and mate.
Once the bear finds what it needs, it will no longer have the want to wander.
“This one is just searching for a new home and some food,” Dodge said. “Until it finds everything it needs, it’ll keep walking through.”
Dodge reported he has been tracking this particular bear for a while as it has been spotted throughout the county. With a trail camera, Dodge said the bear has been traveling state Route 374 as it moves through multiple townships and is closing in on Cantwell Cliffs.
The bear was sighted in more areas prior to Lake Logan, including Kalklosch Road, off of state Route 664, Pleasant Valley Road and Evans Road.
Dodge reported the bear was moving in the north, or northwestern direction and is now heading south, which is ideal for this situation.
“I think, with the way the bear is moving, it’ll just keep moving through,” he said. “My guess is it will probably, eventually, leave the county.”
A bear will not cause any violence with a human as long as there is no need. According to Dodge, bears do not want to be around people, just as people do not want to be around bears.
“Basically, as long as it is not causing too big of a problem, it’ll move somewhere south and less populated,” he added.
Because the bear is isolated from others of its species, it must hunt for itself, which is reasoning behind why some trash may be found missing or scattered.
Dodge reported black bears will establish a desire to eat and they will then get into trashcans and dumpsters. One resident experienced a trashcan missing one summer, and experienced the bear walking down his driveway this summer.
According to Logan resident Terry Kline, the bear Dodge has been tracking strolled down his driveway and into the woods.
“I was shocked,” Kline told The Logan Daily News. “I never thought I would see a bear coming down the driveway.”
The bear, to an untrained eye, was large, but Kline said he found out it was a young one. Knowing the bear roamed his property, Kline said he now has his guard up when he walks out the door.
“When I went outside, I kept an eye out, just incase, but I never saw him again,” he commented.
When the bear disappeared into the woods, he came back a while later and crossed through Kline’s neighbor’s yard as he headed toward his next destination.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has links on their website telling readers what to do if they encounter a bear and other useful tips dealing with black bears.
What to do if you encounter a bear:
• 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 slowly away. 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.
More information can be found at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/nuisance-wildlife/black-bears-in-ohio.