Southern Indiana bear spotted recently in Madison, Indiana - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Southern Indiana bear spotted recently in Madison, Indiana

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MADISON, Ind. (WDRB) -- A bear – seemingly all alone – is believed to be making himself at home at a wildlife refuge in Madison.

Two weeks ago, the young male black bear was spotted near Tim Demaree's backyard along State Highway 421 near the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge.

“I don’t think it would bother any of us, you know," Demaree said. "It had dogs out here, it’s got horses, sweet feed in the barn ... it never went in the barn."

The bear has been spotted several times over the last few months. Refuge officials say bears usually hibernate when their food is covered in snow, but this year is different because of the mild winter.

Wildlife officials believe the bear is the only one around. They think it’s the same one that has traveled hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky, but probably won’t hang in the area long.

“There is plenty of food and habitat for him, but there is no female bears, so we might see that bear start wandering again,” said Joe Robb with Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge.

Robb said residents who live nearby can help avoid any unwanted encounters with the bear by keeping their trash in containers and take the bins in at night. 

Also, empty any grease by grills, and store extra bird feed inside.

It’s only the second wild black bear confirmed in Indiana since the 1870s. Officials believe it swam across the Ohio River last summer from Kentucky, which has a growing bear population.

Bears tend to emerge from hibernation toward the end of February or early March and remain on the move until mating season which begins early summer.

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