UPDATE: Black bear spotted again in North Canton

Posted at 8:37 PM, May 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-14 12:12:43-04
When North Canton police were notified late Friday of a black bear sighting about 10 miles northeast of the city; at first they thought it was the same bear that had been seen in the city that morning.
But at 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, residents in the 100 block of Far View Drive, SW in North Canton spotted a black bear, estimated to weigh about 200 pounds, eating bird seed from their backyard bird feeder. 

Two wildlife officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources responded and monitored the bear's movements. But they lost sight of the bear at around 4:30 a.m.
Authorities hope to force the eventually force the bear east and out of the county to a more favorable habitat, on its own behavior.
To keep a bear from becoming a "problem bear," which is an animal that loses its natural fear of humans and causes property damage, the ODNR recommends removing all potential food that could attract the animal. This includes bird feeders, pet foods, grease from grills. It also recommends placing electric fencing around beehives, picking fuits from berry bushes, putting trash containers in the garage or in a secure container and more. Details are on ODNR's website.
On Friday, officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, or ODNR, were on the lookout for a black bear wandering around North Canton. The male was spotted early Friday morning at the Arrowhead golf course on the city's southwest side.

"Next thing you know, we heard a rustling in the bushes," said Jessica Ashe, a North Canton resident. "We looked, and there was a very large black bear.”

Ashe said the bear spent 12 hours in her backyard Thursday. When wildlife officials showed up to try to move him out, he wandered away and was later spotted at a Sheetz gas station in Canton and a middle school.

“I was within 10 feet of this bear yesterday, and he didn’t really have a care in the world," said Allen Lea of the ODNR. 

Lea stressed that black bears are normally harmless to humans unless taunted by them. He urged residents in the area to take their bird feeders and animal treats inside as bears are looking for food.

Lea also said they are looking for a mate at this time of year.

"This is the breeding season, and they travel into Ohio from Pennsylvania, and they are looking for females," he added.

But Lea said female bears are not easily found in Ohio. His hope is that the male bear makes its way back to Pennsylvania soon.

"Right now, I'm just monitoring," he added. "We are not sure where the bear went. He could still be in this vicinity, or he could be miles away from here by now."

As a precaution, students at Orchard Hill Intermediate School in North Canton stayed inside for recess Friday. The school is located next to the golf course where the bear was last seen.

If ODNR officials spot the bear, they said their goal is to monitor it, keep people nearby calm and try to get the bear to keep moving.

Anyone who spots the bear is encouraged to call ODNR or their local police department.