GEAUGA COUNTY -- Bear sightings have been on the increase but it's not an invasion -- it's just Mother Nature at work.
WKYC Photojournalist Carl "Big Daddy" Bachtel headed to Geauga County to talk "bears" with an expert, offering some tips to help you enjoy the moment if you're lucky enough to see one.
Black bear sightings are on the rise in our area and, according to Geauga Park District Senior Naturalist Dan Best, that's a good thing.
Best said, "It's a great part of our wilderness, wildlife heritage here that we're getting the chance, the opportunity to experience again."
The young bears, like this one spotted earlier this week in Chester Township, are looking to set up a territory and Ohio has what they need.
The eastern half of Ohio, the Allegheny plateau, has reforested significantly.
As they wander, they look for easy meals, eating just about anything.
A big problem? They are tearing up birdfeeders, they're rough on birdfeeders. That's a ready source of food and a lot of people have them.
So, if you want to save your feeders, take them down for a few weeks. Black bears are almost as adaptable as coyotes when it comes to living in populated areas, but purposely feeding them is a very bad thing.
When they get adapted to human food sources, as the saying goes, a fed bear's a dead bear.
Also, follow the law-- keep pets on leashes. Bear-human encounters don't have to be bad.
It's just common sense -- give them their space. And don't forget to take pictures.