Imagine looking out your window and seeing a bear sitting on your front porch! That's exactly what an Adams County woman recently found, and she's not alone. Once native to the state, bears were hunted out. However, bear sightings have increased dramatically across the state, as bears make their way back into Ohio.
Local 12's Rich Jaffe found the bears are definitely not shy around people.
About three months ago, Adena Pollard was awakened by loud noises on her front porch.
Adena Pollard, Adams County Resident: "Opened the blind up and looked down and I seen something big and black. At first, I did think it was a raccoon and then I was like what is that and it was way bigger than a raccoon and he turned around and looked up at me and walked off."
What Pollard saw was this, a young male black bear, and she's not the only one. What's believed to be the same bear, has been reported and verified numerous times, even caught on trail cameras coming into deer feeders.
Chris Gilkey, Ohio Division of Wildlife: "After talking to the neighbor lady here that bear was on her porch that night, too, several nights before that he'd been here too, rolling the trash cans down the hill trying to get the lids off, setting in the front yard over here in the trees eating the dog food she'd had out for her dog, and then the closest encounter was when she heard rustling and she looks out her front screen door and there he was sitting there looking at her."
Wildlife officers believe there are at least two different bears in Adams County and possibly more. They're frequently seen around houses where they show up for an easy meal.
"It was kind of my fault too because I had left my trash on the porch the night before and that's what he came after he drug it off the porch and underneath the window, he ate the Wendy's baked potato, basically."
"While black bears are considered game animals in many states, wildlife officials in Ohio want people to know that they are still an endangered species in this state, and that means unless it's an absolute matter of self defense, you cannot shoot them."
"Give them space, let the bear know you're there, talk to it, just like you would anybody else, let it recognize you're there, that way you don't startle him, just back away get to a comfortable distance. I don't recommend pursuing, taking pictures is one thing definitely feeding and things like that are out of the question."
Taking bears for granted is now also out for Adena Pollard. "I go out first before I take him out, look around, leave lights on, don't leave trash out any more."
Last year in Ohio, there were 113 confirmed sightings of bears. That's 67 more than in 2005.
Rich Jaffe, Local 12.