Boardman police and wildlife officers spent much of the day Saturday tracking a black bear that was roaming through residential areas. At one point the bear went up a tree, but the animal soon crawled down and moved on with police following behind.
The bear was last seen Sunday morning at 8 a.m. in Campbell at Notre Dame Drive/Struthers Liberty Road and North Bridge Street heading east towards Route 616
Prior to that sighting it was last seen in Boardman at 3 a.m. near Erskin and Afton Streets.
At about 12:15 p.m. the bear was spotted on Lockwood Boulevard, near the Mill Creek Golf Course. Police believe the same bear was seen earlier Saturday morning in Canfield on North Briarcliff, Deer Trail Avenue and Glenview Road.
Boardman police tracked the bear and said it was showing signs of aggression. Both Canfield and Boardman police departments warned residents to stay indoors. The bear eventually went into the woods off of Glenwood Avenue.
“Last night around 8:40 p.m., he started out in Milton Township and traveled all through Canfield this morning and he is here now lying down, so quite a bit of distance,” said Mahoning County Wildlife Officer Tom Frank.
Several local residents spotted the bear on its 2o mile hike from Milton Township to Boardman. Belinda and Eugene Haley live near Glenwood Avenue and said they were a bit startled when they saw the bear in their backyard but they were not afraid.
“I never thought there would be a bear on the property. Police were going up and down the street telling people to go inside because there was a bear in the area,” said Belinda Haley. “I’m not worried about it. I do not like creepy crawly things, and if it crawls and does not have a pamper on it, I don’t like it.”
In Trumbull County, police were tracking a small black bear in Liberty Township. That bear was first spotted Saturday morning at 8 a.m. on Tanglewood Drive, near the same location where a black bear was found dead earlier this month.
In Champion, a bear was sighted Saturday morning on State Road, near Cranberry Hills Golf Course.
There were 224 black bear sightings in Ohio last year with Trumbull County having the most confirmed sightings with 10.
“The bear does not want to have any interaction with people. It is not going to be aggressive in any manner but like any wild animal when it is cornered, it is going to defend itself,” said Frank. “The best thing is to leave it alone and it will continue to travel through.”
Residents are encouraged to remove bird feeders and keep a watchful eye on pets outside.
ODNR officials say if you encounter a bear and it is not aware of your presence, back away slowly and remain calm. If the bear is aware of your presence and it does not leave the area, avoid direct eye contact with the animal, give the bear an easy escape route and again, simply back slowly away from the area. Always avoid running or climbing trees, which may provoke a chase. An easy way to remember this is to be AWARE:
- 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.