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Visiting bear shocks teenager

BOARDMAN — After shopping in Boardman on Tuesday evening, preparing for an upcoming vacation, 16-year-old Emma Hartman came across a surprise.

Traveling on Tippecanoe Road to her home, she saw a black bear after a car in front of her stopped in the road.

“I looked to my right and I saw something big,” which confused her when she realized it was a bear, Hartman said. “It’s not every day you see a black bear. I was so shocked.”

Hartman said she saw the bear around 7:30 p.m. in the Huntington Woods area.

Police dispatch records show a call of the bear “resting” near the Huntington Woods neighborhood off Tippecanoe Road in a back yard around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Around 8 p.m., the bear crossed over to Twin Oaks, climbing a fence.

The bear has been monitored the last several days by a county wildlife officer, said Jamey Emmert, a spokesperson for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The young male back bear was likely “booted out by mom” who is about to give birth to the new generation, and is looking to establish his own territory, she said.

An occasional bear sighting isn’t unusual for Mahoning County.

The young bears often wander into northeast Ohio from western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Emmert said.

The visiting bear in Boardman mostly has kept to himself, Emmert said.

Typically, black bears are passive and solitary animals.

“As long as people continue to respect him and give him space, there shouldn’t be conflict and the bear will be on his way,” Emmert said.

When a black bear is spotted, people may want to consider taking down bird feeders, securing their garbage and bringing pet food indoors at night.

Another thing to keep contained are any pets, specifically dogs and cats.

“It’s always a really good idea to keep pets tethered or inside fences,” Emmert said.

Bears won’t randomly attack dogs, but when dogs feel the need to protect their terrority, the bear may protect itself.

When temperatures are higher, bears like to take it easy, sleeping during the day.

“They don’t feel motivated to roam, but at night they are much more likely to be active,” Emmert said.

Should someone come across the bear, the best thing to do is to face him and make noise, she said.

“Clapping your hands, shouting… Will make you appear bigger and tougher than the bear,” Emmert said.

It’s estimated the bear is about 150 to 175 pounds, and he isn’t looking for a fight. “It’s already got its butt kicked all the way into Ohio by other bigger, meaner bears,” Emmert said.

She said slowly back away while facing a bear, keeping eye contact or looking down at the ground.

Do not run away, because it could encourage a chase, Emmert said.

People can report any sightings of bears and other out-of-place wildlife by visiting wildohio.gov, click on “Wildlife sightings.”

afox@vindy.com

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