Has Anyone Else Seen a Bear in Kent This Summer?
Two Kent residents share photos of presumably the same bear spotted July 14 at Oak Knolls and Towner's Woods.
Sure it happened 12 days ago, but is it ever really considered old news when a bear is seen hanging out in Kent ... on a golf course?
Kent resident Chelsea Collier was working at Oak Knolls Golf Club on July 14 when a black bear was spotted at about 3 p.m. between holes two and eight heading toward the Cuyahoga River.
Participating in an outing that afternoon was a golfer (Collier doesn't know his name) who took the photograph posted with this story and then shared it with her.
A couple of hours later Kent resident Ben Richards and his girlfriend, Brittany Ankrom, arrived at Towner's Woods Park in nearby Franklin Township, where they were greeted by a black bear near the main trailhead.
"I would say we were around 45 to 50 feet away (from the bear)," Richards said. "We watched it for about 30 seconds while it walked along the side of the private lake at the entrance of Towner's Woods before it stopped to look at us and ran off."
The couple remained where they were for a while, Richards said, "Then all of a sudden it came out of the trees up the trail and looked back at us, maybe 200 feet away or more, and then started walking into the park on the trail. Definitely one of the more exciting moments of the summer!"
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Dvision of Wildlife, sightings of young male black bears rise during the summer months as the burly creatures attempt to find their own territory.
The black bear, Ohio’s largest mammal, is an endangered species protected by state law.
The Division of Wildlife estimates the Buckeye bear population at about 60 black bears living in Ohio year round. During 2011, 152 reported sightings of black bears occurred in 32 Ohio counties, mostly in northeast and southeast Ohio. In northeast Ohio specifically, a total 97 sightings were reported in 13 counties.
What should you do if you're lucky enough to see a bear in Ohio? The ODNR wildlife experts say you should do exactly what Richards and Ankrom did: Don’t approach it or attempt to engage it in any way; it will leave on its own, as bears are usually afraid of people.
Jamey Graham, spokesperson at the ODNR District 3 office in Akron, said the wildlife division wants to hear about bear sightings from area residents.
"We certainly do want to get those reports," Graham said. "We want to know where the bear was seen as specifically as possible, like an address or major intersection ... and what was it doing at the time, like basking in the sun or feeding from a bird feeder."
Graham said there have already been 22 individual reported sightings for Portage County alone this year, mostly in Streetsboro (none in Kent). "Our experts think it's one bear, possibly two, that's just very active," she said.
If you see a black bear in the area call the ODNR District 3 office at 330-644-2293 to report it.
Have you seen a bear in Kent this summer? Tell us in the comments and upload your photos to this story!