A male black bear was fatally shot by an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper after the animal was injured when struck by a car in Marlboro Township. A 17-year-old Summit County boy was driving the car which struck the bear.
Teenage motorist Paul Pitney ran into a huge surprise when he encountered a 249-pound black bear while driving on Beeson Street NE.
The male bear was wounded when hit by the Pontiac Grand Am Pitney was driving Wednesday night. A Ohio Highway trooper later shot the creature at the side of the roadway.
“He was injured pretty badly. He was beyond repair,” said Trooper Nick Goodnite.
The incident occurred Wednesday night as Pitney, 17, of Hudson, was driving from an evening church service in the Hartville area, according to his mother, Robin Pitney of Hudson.
“Even the insurance lady (agent) said after 16 years of doing insurance, she has never had a claim for a bear,” Robin Pitney said.
Black bears are not common in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“We have a rough estimate, at this point, between 50 and 100 black bears statewide,” said Dan Kramer, a wildlife management supervisor for ODNR. “There are a state endangered species here in Ohio.”
Wildlife specialists describe black bears as timid creatures who, unless threatened or cornered, would try to avoid confronting humans.
“Normally they don’t seek out people,” Kramer said. “People should, if they encounter a bear on the (hiking) trail, you should make yourself known to the bear. The response should be the bear would clear the area. You don’t want to startle him at all. You want to make sure he is given the opportunity to route around you.”
“Bears aren’t mean, they are just hungry,” said Rhonda Schrader, director of The American Bear Association in Orr, Minn. “They are more scared of humans than anything. Why this bear was out roaming around is because they are entering hyperphagia where they eat 20 hours a day. They are trying to build up enough door fats to last them through winter hibernation time.”
The American Bear Association is a nonprofit group which operates the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Minnesota.
This particular bear, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, stood almost three feet high from its shoulder to the ground.
“We have had a lot of sightings within the last week of black bear,” Marlboro Police Chief Ron Devies said. “I am almost certain there is more than one. They have been all over the township.”
While Pitney did not suffer any injuries, the car was severely damaged.
“It had to be towed as a result of the damage; damage to the hood, front quarter panel and bumper area,” Lt. Eric Sheppard of the Ohio Highway Patrol said. “As far as I have been advised, the bear came upon the roadway and the driver had no time to react.”