To bear-proof your backyard, the Ohio Division of Wildlife recommends removing all potential food attractants and taking steps including:

• Removing bird feeders (including hummingbird and suet feeders) and other wildlife feed.

• Storing garbage in a garage can or a secure container.

• Keeping pet foods inside, especially at night.

• Cleaning out grease from grills after each use and storing grills in a garage or shed.

• Securing beehives by placing electric fencing around them.

• Picking fruit from berry bushes as soon as possible.

• Scaring bears out of agriculture fields as soon as damage occurs.

Although black bears are usually fearful of people, any human encounter should be taken seriously, wildlife officials warn.

Generally, a black bear will be nonaggressive and will leave the area if it does not feel cornered or threatened.

If you encounter a bear, the Division of Wildlife suggests taking these steps:

• Act calm and do not run.

• Warn the bear that you are near; talk in a firm, calm voice.

• Allow space between you and the bear. Step aside and back slowly away.

• Raise your hands above your head to appear larger if the bear approaches. Clap your hands or shout to scare the bear away.

• Exit the area.

To report observations of black bears, submit a report online via the Wildlife Species Sighting Report at or contact local wildlife officers.

• Ohio Wildlife District 3 (Northeast region) 330-644-2293.

• Summit County 330-245-3042

• Stark County 330-245-3041

• Medina County 330-245-3043

• Portage County 330-245-3040

• Wayne County 330-245-3046

• Tuscarawas County 330-245-3047