Okay, what's the deal? Why are black bears suddenly popping up where black bears ought not to pop up?

I posed this question on social media to fellow contributor Ash who responded, "Their habitats are being inhabited by humans." And as an explanation for why I've been seeing more coyotes and foxes and why I've been hearing about more bobcat sightings, that's the right answer. But bears? In western Kentucky?

So before I dove further into my consternation, I checked in with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to get the lowdown on bears in the Commonwealth, and I found this very helpful Kentucky bear distribution map:

Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife
Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife
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So, no, it isn't 100% uncommon to spot a black bear in our neck of the woods, but I'd bet the NUMBER of bear sightings in this area is a bit unusual. I mean we're not just talking about this recent report of a sighting in Webster County:

We're also talking about a heavily reported black bear sighting across the river in southwestern Indiana that's now also been spotted in Daviess (day-VEEZ) County, Indiana.

So why are we seeing them with this kind of frequency in 2021? An interesting story from The Paducah Sun suggests that our very own heads that we are scratching over this phenomenon may be pointed in the wrong direction, that maybe these bears are coming from the WEST. And while you may be asking yourself, "But what about the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers?", well, keep in mind that bears are excellent swimmers. Rivers should not be a problem for them.

And from my layman's point of view, that makes sense. Since I've learned that bears can migrate more than 100 miles, and since I'm well aware of the Ozark Mountains not terribly far away to our west, maybe that's the answer.

In the meantime, we'll continue to watch this bear story unfold...AND deal with all the porridge jokes (guilty as charged) that we can stomach.

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