Close Encounters of the Bear Kind in Upstate New York
Forget the third kind. This is a close encounter of the bear kind in Upstate New York.
A black bear got a little too close for comfort in Bolton Landing. It was captured on video searching for food around a garage before coming snout to face with the homeowner. Luckily there was a window in between the two.
The bear stood on its hind legs, took a quick look in the window, and thankfully carried on his way.
Bears Searching for Food
This isn't the first bear to be seen roaming backyards in search of food. A black bear was spotted roaming the streets of a small Central New York village, a long way from the Adirondack mountains, where bears usually call home.
Megan Spina noticed the bear roaming in the village of Verona near the Verona Fire Department. "This is the backyard on Greenfield Road," she shared on Facebook, along with a video of the little guy that looked scared.
Bear Opens Door
You'll 'bearly' believe your eyes when you see this one open a storm door. Thankfully there was another wooden door to stop the guy from getting into the house.
The front door isn't the only thing you should lock to avoid bears getting in. A few years ago a bear managed to open the sliding doors of a van in Upstate New York. After rummaging for food in the back, she opened the driver's side door to search some more.
Bear Breaks Into Fridge
Bears can open almost anything, especially if it has a handle. One was caught sneaking into a house, opening the refrigerator, eating some blackberries, pancake mix, crackers, and a cherry pie, before moving on his way.
Heaven forbid you leave a window open. Bears will crawl right through, especially if you've left garbage out. Watch home security camera footage from a camp in the Catskills showing a young bear climbing through a window to find food.
Bear For Dinner
You need to keep all your food, toiletries, and garbage in a bear-resistant canister to avoid attracting black bears. Don't cook or eat after dark either or you may have one join you for dinner. It happened at a camp in the Adirondacks.
Bears in New York
There are a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York State, according to the DEC. Everyone is being reminded to limit food sources to reduce bear conflicts. Take down your bird feeders. Keep pet food indoors and lock up trash containers. Bears learn from experience. So, if they find food, they will be back.
The DEC has tips on how to keep bears away from your property and what to do if you encounter one.
To Avoid Bears Coming Onto Your Property:
- Clean your grill by turning it on high for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors.
- Lock up your trash. Bears love garbage. Keep all trash in sealed cans inside a building like a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear.
- Do not feed your pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
- Do not have refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.
- Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
- Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
- Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.
- Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
- Run from a bear: They may chase.
- Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other campers/residents, and the bears.
- If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
- If a bear charges you: Stand your ground.
- If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).
If You're Camping:
- Throw out all your trash and recyclables.
- Lock up your coolers and food. Store food in either the trunk of your car or in the cab of your truck. Keep windows shut and food and coolers out of sight.
- NEVER keep food, coolers, or scented items in your tent.
- Treat all toiletries as food items. Toiletry products are heavily scented and are as attractive to bears as actual food.
- Clean up after all meals immediately. Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and washbasins clean when not in use.
- Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles, or other refuse into the fireplace. These items do not properly burn and will attract bears with their odors.
- Always remember when exploring the wilderness - you're in their home. Be vigilant and stay safe.