What Do Black Bears and Polly Have In Common?  They're both cranky when they first wake up.  With warmer temperatures the bears are coming out of hibernation and on the hunt for food.  The NY DEC offers these tips on keeping them out of your yard.

New York is home to more bears than you may think.  Estimates put the population somewhere between 6-7 thousand.  With last week's reported bear sighting in Little Falls, it's time to be aware of the dangers of intentional or unintentional contact.  Here's some common sense and some not-so common tips to keep the bears and other critters away.

Not every bear that passes through a developed area is a problem bear, but readily available human food sources can quickly turn them into one. Bears can obtain all of the food they need from the forest but they are intelligent and opportunistic animals that will find and consume whatever food they can find most easily.


  • Never feed bears! It is illegal, dangerous and detrimental to bears.
  • If you believe bears are being fed in your area, or suspect a nuisance bear situation, report it to DEC immediately.
  • Take down bird feeders after April 1. Birds do not need supplemental food in the spring and summer, when natural foods are most abundant
  • Clean off barbeque grills before night fall (don't forget the grease trap), and if possible, store grills inside when not in use.
  • Store garbage in a secure building or location, secure can lids with ropes/bungees/chains; never over-fill cans, and dispose of garbage as frequently as possible.
  • If you live in an area where bears may occur, put garbage containers out by the curb just before the scheduled pick-up - never the night before.
  • If you live in a densely populated bear area, consider using a certified bear-resistant garbage container.
  • Clean garbage cans frequently with ammonia products.
  • Do not burn garbage: it is illegal and can attract bears.
  • Do not add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost pile.
  • Feed pets indoors and store pet food indoors. If pets must be fed outside, immediately remove all uneaten food and dishes.

Here are additional suggestions to protect yourself while you're camping and hiking.

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