Bears are starting to come out of hibernation after a long winter. And they're hungry. One snowy black bear came looking for food on a porch in New York, getting a little too close for comfort.

Imagine looking out your back window and seeing a large black bear on your back deck. It happened in Worcester, New York around 2 AM on Tuesday, April 19."By looking at its size I'd say that he/she hibernated well this winter," James Gardner said in a video shared on Facebook.

Credit - James Gardner via Facebook
Credit - James Gardner via Facebook
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Searching for Food

The bear roamed the backyard looking for food, including inside a bird feeder that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) suggests you take down to avoid bears in your yard.

Credit - James Gardner via Facebook
Credit - James Gardner via Facebook
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Make Noise

Gardner did what the DEC suggests you do when you come across a bear. He made noise and yelled at the bear to scare it away. "Holy moly," Gardner said as the bear wandered away to continue its search for food.

Bears in New York

There are a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears in New York State, according to the DEC.

Bears are curious animals and spend a great deal of time exploring for food. And they are smart. Bears learn from experience. If they find food, they will be back. That's why it's important to take down any bird feeders on your property. Birdfeed such as suet and seeds are a very strong attraction for bears.

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.

Do:

  • 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.

Don't:

  • 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.

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