Webster County Bear Sighting Under Investigation by Wildlife Officials

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials are investigating after a bear was reportedly spotted in Dixon, Kentucky on Wednesday.

Posted: Jul 21, 2021 12:33 PM
Updated: Jul 22, 2021 7:45 AM

Officials in the city of Dixon, Kentucky, are advising the community to be cautious after a bear was spotted in the area.

Webster County Dispatch told 44News they got their first call about the bear around 11 a.m., about an hour after the first photo of the bear was shared on Facebook.

44News reached out to the woman who first reported the bear sighting. She told us her parents had seen the bear in their front yard around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, along Gardner Sawmill Road, just off of US-41 A behind Townsend Food Center.

When Tyler Fuesler and his friend got word of the bear, they jumped in their jeep and drove over from Union County.

"We look for deer a lot but we're not used to seeing bears around here," Fuesler said. "My buddy, Riley, he texted me the link there, said there's a bear sighting in Webster County, over here by Dixon. I said 'Oh, that's close to home' so we had to come over here and see it."

"I mean aside from Eastern Kentucky, that's probably the only place I've ever seen a bear, so I think it's neat to have one here," Riley Jones said.

The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) said it's investigating reports of the bear.

KDFWR said while black bears do roam through Western Kentucky, up until now, only paw prints have really been seen in this neck of the woods, which is probably why this official sighting is the talk around and out of town.

"Of course we've got a good, strong resident population in the eastern part of the state," KDFWR Bear Program Coordinator John Hast said. "But we're certainly seeing more in the summer moving into the Bluegrass region and over into West Kentucky."

Hast believes the bear reported in Webster County could be the same bear that was seen in southern Henderson County earlier in the week.

Some wonder if the bear is the same one seen in other parts of the Tri-State recently, and Hast said it could be the case, though there's no evidence suggesting that yet.

"It's not out of the realm of possibility that it could be the bear that you've had up there north of Evansville for a while."

According to KDFWR, it's not uncommon for young male bears in Kentucky's "core bear range" in the eastern portion of the state to be "pushed out" of the area by older, dominant bears, and wander for several weeks.

KDFWR said it's also the time for young black bears to leave their mothers and start roaming - and with hungry bears emerging from hibernation, everyone should keep trash and pet food securely stored.

For now, though the bears don't pose much threat, officials are advising everyone to stay safe and keep their distance because they know many are eager to get a look.

"I just think it's awesome that it's here in Dixon and we have the opportunity to chase this thing," Fuesler said.

You can learn more about wild bear safety on the KDFWR website.

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