Southern Indiana black bear update

According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the black bear in southern Indiana has remained in the area of Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge since Aug. 9. Black bears are timid and rarely aggressive.

Residents in the area of Big Oaks should remain alert and follow the steps below to aid in this bear remaining wild:

• Store garbage cans inside of a garage or shed.
• Never feed the bear. A fed bear is a dead bear.
• Remove bird feeders (for the time being)
• Clean and store grills inside a garage or shed.
• Do not follow or harass the bear.

What to do if you see a black bear:

  • Enjoy it from a distance.
  • 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 at (812) 334-1137, through email at, or online.

Black bears, once a native species in Indiana, are now listed as an exotic mammal and protected under Indiana Administrative Code 312 9-3-18.5 (b-1), which prohibits the killing of a black bear except by a resident landowner or tenant while the animal is “destroying or causing substantial damage to property owned or leased by the landowner or tenant.”