The DEC is encouraging New Yorkers to reduce the potential for conflicts with bears in communities across the state.

In June, black bear movement increases as the breeding season begins and yearling (one-year-old) bear disperse to find their own space. Some of these bears, particularly yearlings, wander through places these animals would not normally inhabit, like suburban or urban neighborhoods.

Bears have an acute sense of smell and may attempt to consume anything they perceive as edible, including improperly stored garbage, birdseed, livestock, pet food, and barbecue grill grease traps.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said:

We have recently begun to see a rise in reported sightings of black bears in suburban and urban areas. While seeing a bear is an exciting experience for many New Yorkers, bears that are inadvertently fed by humans exhibit unnatural behaviors and can become a nuisance. DEC encourages homeowners, property managers, and outdoor enthusiasts to follow guidance to reduce bears' access to attractants like garbage, birdseed, and pet food to discourage nuisance bears

Do not feed bears intentionally. Feeding bears intentionally is illegal and you can receive a ticket. Bears that obtain food from humans will continue to seek food from humans and become nuisance bears, which can pose a threat to humans.

Around dwellings, the public is encouraged to do:

  • Remove all bird feeders;
  • Keep garbage, grills, pet food, and birdseed inside a solid, secure structure such as a house, shed, or garage;
  • If grills cannot be secured, clean grills, move them away from houses, and remove grease traps after each use;
  • Put garbage on the curb the morning of collection, not the night before, and use bear-resistant trash containers; and
  • Close garage doors and ground-floor windows/doors at night.

Campground should do the following to avoid bear conflicts:

  • Keep campsites as clean as possible;
  • Clean up after all meals immediately. Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and washbasins clean when not in use;
  • Leave coolers and food inside car trunks or truck cabs;
  • Store food and coolers in food lockers when available;
  • NEVER keep food, coolers, or scented items in tents when camping. Store toiletries securely with coolers and food;
  • Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles, or other refuse in the fireplace; and
  • Dispose of garbage in the campground's dumpsters every evening.

More information can be found on the DEC website.

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