Southern Indiana Black Bear Waking Up From Winter Nap Soon

Posted On February 16, 2017

The Indiana DNR says the black bear that is believed to be hibernating in the Big Oaks National Wildlife refuge will likely awaken soon.

The bear was spotted last November in the wildlife refuge.

The DNR says the bear could emerge from hibernation as early as this week, depending on weather conditions.

Officials are urging residents near the refuge to secure garbage cans, remove bird feeders, and remove other food sources to keep the bear leery of humans.

If the bear becomes used to human foods, it will seek them out.

The DNR’s wildlife biologists reminds residents of the following tips to stay aware:

  • Don’t intentionally feed bears. If a bear becomes accustomed to finding food near your home, it is likely to become a “problem” bear.
  • Place garbage cans inside a garage or shed.
  • Clean and store grills away after use.
  • Don’t leave pet food outside overnight.
  • Remove bird feeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • Don’t add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
  • If you encounter a bear, don’t run. Shout, wave your arms and back away slowly.
  • Collect and remove low-hanging or fallen fruit from fruit trees.
  • Eliminate meat, cooking oil, fish or fruit odors from near your home. This includes fish-meal fertilizers.
  • Collect and remove any ripened vegetables from your garden.
  • Protect bee hives through the use of electric fencing.

If you spot the bear you are asked to call 334-1137.