NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Photos of black bears are becoming more common on local social media pages, as people are spotting them around the area.
It is something Perry Santangelo says caught him completely by surprise Tuesday as he was driving home down Middletown Road near Route 170.
“I see something out of the side of my eye. Looked out my lefthand window and here’s a bear. He’s running down the side of the road right with me,” Santangelo said.
Not wanting the animal to get hit by another car, Santangelo stopped short of the intersection and laid on his horn.
“He walked up to the woods, paused, looked back at me and just walked into the woods,” Santangelo said.
Others in the New Middletown/Springfield Township area say they’ve seen the bear, too.
It’s just the latest in a series of bear-sightings around the area from Canfield to Boardman all the way to the state line.
Just as we were talking with Santangelo, there were reports on social media of a bear spotted Wednesday on Sycamore, just a few blocks away.
Experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) say this is breeding season for adult bears. It is also the time when females are encouraging their cubs to start off on their own.
“Now, all these young bears are out looking for their own territory. Sometimes they get lost and end up in places they probably shouldn’t, said Laurie Brown, a wildlife research engineer with ODNR.
Brown says if bears are spotted in your neighborhood, don’t leave trash cans or pet food outdoors where the bears can find them and take down your bird feeders.
“They love birdseed. They are like a big raccoon. Take those bird feeders down and leave them down for a couple of weeks,” Brown said.
If you come across a bear, don’t do anything to make it feel cornered. Give it a clear path to get away.
More bear tips can be found on the ODNR website.