Is the infamous Bedford Bear back on the prowl in Northeast Ohio?
Probably not. But there was a black bear sighting in Ashtabula and, as with any sensational animal story in a small town, it brought out the absolute best in local reporting.
"Banging devices" and exaggerated eyewitness accounts coming your way, courtesy of the Star Beacon:
“Ashtabula County is the leading county in the state for bear sightings,” said Scott Peters, ODNR’s wildlife managing supervisor. “This is typical of this time of year.”
Peters said it’s the bears’ breeding season and the animals are trying to find their own territory.
Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell said ODNR gave his officers “banging devices” to spook the bears away from populated areas.
“They sound like a loud firecracker,” he said. “It’s designed to frighten the bear.”
Residents reported the Benefit Avenue bear weighs about 300 pounds, but Peters said most likely the bear weighs about 150 pounds.
“I’ve seen dozens and dozens of bears,” he said. “They are one of the hardest species to judge.”
Residents are advised to cuddle ferociously with the animal if it wanders near them and perhaps feed it a sandwich.