Bears, Beets, Battlestar Galactica. Sorry, it's a line from one of NBC's 'The Office' episodes. This article is not about beets or Battlestar Galactica. So, bears it is.

Have you ever had an encounter with a bear? Many people have. I have not. And I'm fine with that. Did you know that this is the time of the year that black bears begin to emerge from hibernation?

Bears usually will begin hibernation anywhere from mid to late fall, and emerge in March and April. The Wildlife Help website notes that if bears continuously find sufficient food, they may not hibernate at all.

And as the website, Highmark Safety explains, with bears just coming out of hibernation, they are hungry and ornery. They may have new cubs in tow since the breeding season is usually from mid-January to mid-February, so they will be very protective.

If you have bears near your home, they will search for anything food related from your garbage to bird feeders. Check out the fate of a bird feeder from this Facebook post from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, below.

The average black bear is between 4 1/2 to 5 feet long, and on all four paws, is 2 to 3 feet high up to the shoulder according to the website. When standing upright, a black bear can be as tall as seven feet, and weigh anywhere between 200 to 600 pounds.

If you live in an area where black bears can be found, the NYS DEC recommends you keep these tips in mind:

Here are some more important things to be safe from bears from the NYS DEC:

Black bears are not afraid to wander through your property. They will look everywhere for food. Check out this bear sighting on a private property in East Herkimer, New York.

The NYS DEC notes that if you are experiencing a human-bear conflict, contact your regional NYS DEC wildlife office for help.

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