‘Don’t usually see bears in our community.’ 262-pound bear dies in Kentucky car wreck

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A 262-pound bear was killed Wednesday night when it got hit by a car in Meade County, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bear was hit just after 10 p.m. on US-31 W near the northern city limit of Muldraugh, according to Anthony Lee, the assistant fire chief and public works director in Muldraugh. No humans were injured in the crash, he said. Biologists from the Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to retrieve the bear and take measurements.

“There had been some bear sightings earlier in the week in our community,” Lee said. “I believe it started Sunday night and then it was seen again Monday evening or Monday night.”

The accident caused moderate damage to the vehicle involved, Lee said.

It’s the second year in a row that a bear has been spotted in Muldraugh. The one spotted last year was seen around the same time and in the same places, Lee said.

“We don’t usually see bears in our community,” he said.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife had been made aware of the sightings earlier in the week and were prepared to respond to Muldraugh if needed.

“Biologists had been on call to respond to nuisance bear activity in Muldraugh, Kentucky after receiving reports from the area earlier this week of a bear getting into garbage cans in a neighborhood,” said Kevin Kelly, a spokesperson for the Department of Fish and Wildlife. “... At this time, it’s unclear if the bear involved in Wednesday’s collision had overwintered in the area.”

It’s not unusual in the early summer for young male bears to wander outside of the “established bear range” in Eastern Kentucky, Kelly said.

“The bears get pushed out of the area by older, dominant males, and may wander up to several weeks or more into unfamiliar territory in search of good habitat and prospective mates before they return to the mountains where they were raised,” he said.

Because of this, isolated sightings are possible in areas like Meade County, even if they are rare.

Black bears have a natural fear of people, so bad encounters with bears are extremely uncommon, Kelly said. But Kentucky Fish and Wildlife still advises the public to never approach or feed a bear because it can result in a bad encounter. People who encounter bears are urged to keep a safe distance and never approach the bear.

Residents of an area where a bear has been spotted should secure their garbage in a garage or other building, not leave pet food or bird feed outside and clean and store barbecue grills, Kelly said.

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