Officials give safety tips after increase in bear sightings

Photo: Quincy Kreitzer

MOREHEAD, Ky.- They’re becoming a familiar sight across parts of southern and eastern Kentucky. Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Officials say Kentucky’s bear population is growing.

After a recent bear sighting around Cave Run Lake, and more sightings last week in Laurel County, forestry rangers are wanting to remind people about safely storing trash and food when camping so they don’t wind up meeting a bear.

"Keeping eyes on your food, knowing where your food is at all times, not leaving it out in the open. When you're done with your food, putting it back in your cooler, or in your car if possible. Putting it in a secure spot where the bears not going to get to it,” said Cumberland District Ranger Jon Kazmierski.

If you're out walking on a trail it's obviously important never to surprise any wildlife, but if you see a bear Ranger Kazmierski says to make plenty of noise and always keep your distance.

"If the bear is curious about you, which is very rare, most bears when they see people they get out of there. If the bear happens to be curious, just keep your eyes on the bear and back out of the area and let the bear have its space,” Kazmierski said.

Once a bear passes, or you get into a safe place, rangers encourage campers and hikers to report any bears they may see.

"We always like hearing about bear sightings. If you're out in the woods and you see a bear you can report it to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife or see any of the US Forestry Offices,” Kazmierski said.

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