Don’t Poke The Bear: advice for what to do if you see a black bear

Belmont County

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – There is a black bear meandering its way around Belmont County.

The commander of Belmont County’s Dangerous Wild Animal Response Team (DWART) says the best thing to do is just to take a picture, enjoy the moment and move on.

Deputy Tom DeVaul says the bear seen most recently has been spotted on Indian Run, Dixon Hill Road, Stobbs Estates and on Clark Road in St. Clairsville. He says this bear weighs between 275 and 300 pounds, and appears to be about four years old.

“Bears are like big raccoons,” DeVaul said. “They will not attack you or your pets. They’re interested in eating blackberries and insect larvae, exploring a dumpster, and perhaps licking a barbecue grill.”

He adds that bears can be seen traveling in May, June and July, and they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. DeVaul said the bear that’s been seen this week may have lost his home due to a well pad or housing development.

“Don’t talk or yell,” he advised. “Take a picture, enjoy the moment, then move on and let him move on also.”

He said they are attracted to dog or cat food, any grease or leftover meat particles on a grill, or anything in a bird feeder.

“They love bird seed,” DeVaul said. “So put your bird feeder up really high, and secure your trash cans.”

It is illegal to shoot a black bear in Ohio because they are endangered.

If you have concerns, you can call the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department at (740) 695-7933.

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