If you live in south central Kentucky and recently thought you saw a black bear, your eyes weren’t deceiving you. They are, in fact, roaming the region but one expert says it’s perfectly normal.
"This is the time of year when young bears are getting kicked out of the nest and striking out on their own. Probably what people are seeing are young male bears, 110-130 pounds, and a year-and-a-half old," explains Mark Marraccini with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Black bears are more common in eastern Kentucky, but sightings are becoming more common in other parts of the state. Marraccini adds that the bears are likely traveling north from Tennessee.
There have been recent sightings in Allen and Logan counties.
Bears tend to have a natural fear of people, and if left alone, they pose no risk to humans. Kentucky law prohibits feeding bears.
"Don't do things to cause these bears to become nuisance bears, let them be wild bears. Kentucky has plenty of cover and natural foods for bears to sustain themselves and they will do so," adds Marraccini. "People have a tendency to want to feed them to hold them in an area because they enjoy watching them, and that's understandable, but it's easy for them to see people as an easy source of food handouts and then start ignoring their native foods, the forest foods."
When bears become a nuisance, Fish and Wildlife officials have to step in, which most often, results in euthanasia.