A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Most bear problems preventable; residents urged to work together for the benefit of people and wildlife

The arrival of spring means bear activity is on the rise in Kentucky. An increase in activity can also mean an increase in bear complaints. For those experiencing problems, it may be easier to make some simple adjustments rather than trying to change the bear’s behavior. Most bear problems center around food. To a bear, garbage or an open dumpster can equate to a quick and easy meal. Even food scraps...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Changes to Kentucky’s bear season reflect expansion of population

Major changes were made to this year’s black bear hunting season to reflect expanding bear populations throughout Eastern Kentucky. In 2017, for the first time, the state’s two distinct bear populations will be managed in three zones. There will be a new muzzleloader season in the 22 counties of Zone 3, and nonresidents may now buy permits to hunt bears. “Bear populations have been expanding...

Keep the Wild in Wildlife: Residents urged to work together to prevent problems with bears

John Hast has a word of advice for anyone tempted to throw doughnuts or food scraps to a bear: Don’t. “We’ve found that time and time again, a fed bear is a dead bear,” said Hast, the bear program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “A bear that is used to human food, whether it’s scraps or garbage, begins to lose its fear of people. And that’s where...

State Fish and Wildlife Department says beware of hungry bears on the prowl

Hungry black bears are now roaming the mountains of southeastern Kentucky looking for food, and feeding them is against Kentucky law. “Bears fresh out of their dens haven’t eaten for a few months and are hungry when they leave their dens in spring,” said John Hast, bear program biologist with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “Natural foods are still sparse through the...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Five questions with new state Bear Program Coordinator John Hast

By Kevin Kelly Special to KyForward The allure of doing “cool stuff” for a living played into John Hast’s decision to take a seasonal job with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources back in 2006. The Owensboro, Kentucky native considered putting his biology degree from Centre College to use as an agriculture extension agent when along came the opportunity to work as a wildlife...