After several area bear sightings, Pa. Game Commission offers tips for community members

From Penn Township in Butler County to Brighton Township in Beaver County, neighborhood bear sightings have been reported across Southwestern Pennsylvania.

One of the most recent sightings was in Oakmont. The Pennsylvania Game Commission says we’re hearing more about them because of social media.

“One bear sighting may have, in the past, been reported by one person. Now, it’s one bear sighting is all over Facebook, and 30 to 40 people might have seen that bear now,” said Mike Yeck, state game warden for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Yeck attributes many of the sightings to younger bears going out to explore on their own, straying away from their mothers.

“It’s that time of year for mom to look to breed for the following seasons, so the younger ones are heading out on their own,” Yeck said.

In March, a woman and her dog were attacked in Butler Township but they were able to recover. That prompted a search for the bear, which had to be euthanized after police say she became aggressive. Her cubs were safely removed from the area.

>>> Woman attacked by bear in Butler Township on road to recovery

In Beaver County, no one was attacked, but Brighton Township residents saw the bear wandering around their yards.

>>> Bear spotted in several Brighton Township neighborhoods

Channel 11 asked Yeck what, if anything, you should do if you see a bear in your neighborhood.

“Be big and loud,” Yeck said, getting the bear’s attention and scaring it away by waving your arms, yelling and clapping. He also had this advice:

“If you have a bear in the area, pull your bird feeder in for a week-and-a-half, two weeks so that bear doesn’t associate your backyard with a buffet,” Yeck said.

Additionally, keep your trash in your garage until the night before trash collection.

“We just need to learn to kind of co-exist with them and try to keep them moving on their way,” Yeck said.

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