Vehicle hits black bear, officials warn drivers

Vehicle hits black bear, officials warn drivers
This bear print was spotted in the mud in New Albany. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

NEW ALBANY, IN (FOX19) - Indiana Department of Natural Resources is warning drivers to use caution after a driver hit a black bear near New Albany Sunday night.

DNR officials say the crash happened around 8 p.m. on Interstate 64.

The injured bear wandered off into heavy brush near the side of the interstate and DNR wildlife biologists confirmed the animal was a bear Monday afternoon.

“It’s unfortunate and unusual for a bear to be hit on an Indiana roadway,” DNR mammalogost Brad Westrich said, “but bear sightings are nothing to be alarmed about. As bear populations expand in neighboring states, it’s only natural that they become more common here.”

DNR says if you see a black bear:

  • Enjoy it from a distance 
  • Never attempt to feed or attract bears
  • Do not climb a tree
  • Advertise your presence by shouting and waving your arms and backing slowly away
  • Report bear sightings to the Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife

Officials say most bear-related problems happen when bears associate food sources with humans.

They warn to never feed bears because it will increase the likelihood of negative bear-human interactions. Bears can smell food from more than a mile away, so it’s important to secure food sources, officials say.

DNR also gave tips for reducing bear-human conflicts:

  • DO remove bird feeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • DO clean and store grills away after use.
  • DO eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed.
  • DO pick ripe fruits and vegetable ASAP, or place an electric fence around them, to ensure bear cannot reach them.
  • DON’T intentionally feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become “problem” bears.
  • DON’T leave pet food outside overnight.
  • DON’T add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
  • DON’T climb a tree, but wait in a vehicle or building for the bear to leave the area.

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