It's about this time of year I start seeing all the pictures and videos of bear sightings and sometimes personal encounters with bears in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. What's fascinates me is the more I read about bears crossing the border into mostly southeastern Kentucky, the more they creep closer to these parts in the Tri-State.

Unfortunately, one black bear wasn't so lucky recently in Meade County. Last Wednesday, on highway 31W in Muldraugh a woman hit and killed a black bear.

Muldraugh Police Department
Muldraugh Police Department

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife took possession of the bear and the agency's final assessment determined the bear to weight just over 250 pounds.

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Spring is when more isolated black bears are sighted in Kentucky as the bear activity has increased in our state over the last 20 years. Last year, a bear was struck by an 18-wheeler and killed in Sheperdsville on I-65 North.

A black bear was caught on camera roaming in Louisville neighborhood last July.

It's probably a good time to go over these tips from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife concerning human-bear behavior.

*Bears that gain access to human-related foods, mostly by rooting through garbage cans are committing what the agency calls "nuisance behavior". Like pets or other wild animals, if the bear is given a human food or it is fed, the bear more likely to become conditioned to a more human environment and thus returning for more food and roaming closer to homes. This behavior can eliminate by removing the bear's access to human food.

*Keep pet food and birdfeeder food stored away and inside. Do not throw scraps to pets outside, and only allow your pet food for one meal at a time. Birdfeeders, which you wouldn't think would attract a bear at first, should be stored away if a bear is sighted and not placed back for seven days. The feeder should also be placed at least 8 feet above the ground. Livestock and their feed should be located in a safe area.

*Make sure your barbecue grills are burned and cleaned of all food residue and dispose of grease traps properly.

*Beehives/apiaries can also attract and be damaged by bears.

*Reminder, it is dangerous and illegal to feed bears in Kentucky. Violators can be fined up to $1,000 and spend up to one year in jail. 

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