Are There Bears In Ohio? Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Amin Tawar

Are There Bears In Ohio?
Are There Bears In Ohio? Everything You Need To Know

Ohio is especially renowned for its sports, industries, and significant metropolitan center. However, you can still find diverse animals and plants in the state of Ohio, including bears. 

Although immigrants eradicated the native bear inhabitants by 1851, bear sightings have been increasing lately. Today, the state is again home to a little but increasing inhabitants of black bears. 

It is necessary that we must comprehend a little regarding these species of black bears for us to coexist with them in Ohio. So, let us discover everything that you need to know about the bears living in Ohio.

Are There Bears In Ohio?

American black bears (Ursus americanus) are the only bear found in Ohio. Adult bears in Ohio usually range anywhere from 90 to 500 pounds, but massive specimens can weigh up to 700 pounds.

However, the average black bear seen in Ohio estimates to be on the smaller side, weighing about 200 pounds. Young male bears can weigh about 200 pounds and female bears are slightly smaller. 

Usually, they measure anywhere from three to five feet and can get up to seven feet from nose to tail. Most black bears have a thick black coat with a brown muzzle. But, a few can appear to be dark brown, blonde, cinnamon, or blue-grey. 

In 1788, there used to be thousands of black bears in Ohio. After settlers moved on they killed them all, making the population zero, and this remained for over many years. Gradually, the population returned back with increased measures to conserve natural habitats. 

Currently, the black bears living in Ohio likely emigrated from neighboring states like Kentucky, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources calculates that there might be up to 100 black bears residing presently in Ohio.

Historically the other bear species that were found in North America, including polar bears and grizzly bears never existed in the Buckeye State.

What Cities In Ohio Have Bears?

It is highly doubtful to see black bears in the cities of Ohio. Though Ohio houses black bears, they are usually spotted only in forested regions and wooded areas. However, bears do roam into residential neighborhoods, especially during summer and spring months while looking for food, but this is also very rare. 

A few regions where black bears are well known to exist in Ohio include the Shawnee State Forest, the Wayne National Forest, and the Zaleski State Forest. 

In Northeast Ohio, they are present in Ashtabula, Trumbull, Geauga, Lake, & Tuscarawas counties. In Southeast Ohio, they are present in Washington, Hocking, Athens, & Vinton counties.

Are There Grizzly Bears In Ohio?

Are There Bears In Ohio?
Are There Bears In Ohio? Everything You Need To Know

There are no grizzly bears found in Ohio, they were also not historically native to Ohio and were primarily located only in the western United States, especially in Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana.

Are Bears Common In Ohio?

Bears are not common in Ohio, but they do live in the state. Black bears are typically located in forested regions, and present only in some regions of the state, especially in the eastern southern regions. As there is only a small population encounters with black bears in Ohio are very rare.

Also Check Our Guide On Bears In Connecticut

Can You Hunt Bear In Ohio?

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, there were laws that existed to limit the hunting of bears in Ohio. Thus, it let settlers kill all of the native bears in the state within a span of a few years. 

Owing to their extinction, the Ohio government chose to protect the bears that emigrated to the state. As they have an endangered class, hunting or intentionally killing a bear is illegal in Ohio. The purposeful hurting of a bear is a first-degree misdemeanor and those guilty of hurting can face a $1,000 penalty and a jail sentence. 

Can You Legally Own A Bear In Ohio?

No, it is unlawful to own a bear in Ohio. Under the law, bears are categorized as harmful wild animals, along with tigers, lions, and other big carnivores. So, the ownership, sale, and breeding, of these animals are banned in the state, unless a valid permit is obtained from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

The laws were passed following an incident where a man released large animals prior to taking his life. 

This incident underlined the risks of permitting ownership of wild animals and the state adopted stricter rules to protect both the public and animals. 

The law also comprises a permitting procedure for individuals who lawfully possessed these animals previous to the law’s advancement, but further ownership of wild animals is not allowed.

Also Check Our Guide On Bears In US


And that was everything you need to know about the Bears In Ohio. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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