Beware of Bears! One Visits Backyard in Herkimer Looking for Food
Seeing a bear in the Adirondack or Catskill Mountains is nothing new. Seeing one in your backyard is a different story. A large black bear has been visiting a home in Herkimer, New York, looking for food.
A homeowner on Shells Bush Road noticed animal tracks while feeding chickens. A check of the security camera unveiled the early morning visitor.
Not First Visit
This isn't the bear's first visit to the neighborhood either. It was spotted lurking around in the early morning hours of May 5.
Bear Opens Door
Bears are smart and will look for food anywhere. 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, and 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.