The number of bear sightings is way up with year according to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Partially because the bear population has grown and partially because the number of people "out and about" has been reduced this spring and summer because of the coronavirus. Bears, especially young bears, haven't learned to stay away from people...so they are a little bolder this year.

A perfect example is this young black bear stealing a bag of garbage for a delicious snack. My wife and daughter were driving to an estate sale on a rural road in East Nassau when they rounded a corner and at first thought, they were seeing a large dog. We have a large Newfoundland at home and quite frankly she kinda looks like a bear, so I can understand why they thought that.

Nope, it wasn't a large dog, it was a young black bear....and it wanted that trash. My wife stopped the Jeep and she and my daughter waited from about 40 feet away as the bear looked at them, then at the trash, and decided the trash was worth the risk.

As cool as it is to see a bear in the wild, it's not always a good situation for the bear. According to the NY DEC these bad behaviors put them at risk. Bears that are seen in developed areas are more likely to be hit by vehicles, illegally killed by people who perceive them as a threat or euthanized for dangerous behavior.

Here are some ways you can reduce potential conflicts with bears in your community.

  • Takedown bird feeders
  • Store garbage containers inside a garage or shed
  • Put garbage out on the curb the morning of collection, not the night before
  • Clean grill grease traps
  • Close garage doors and ground-floor windows and doors at night
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