The bear incident took place at about 5 p.m. when the bear encountered the Troy’s man unleashed small dog in the Stewart’s Landing area of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest in the town of Stratford, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The man, Eric Spinner, was taken to a hospital in the Utica area to have his wounds treated. They are not considered life threatening.
The bear attacked the border terrier and then the dog owner after the man tried to separate the animals, according to the DEC. The encounter ended after the man struck the bear on the nose with a stick. After the attack, the man and his dog walked to Stewart Landing Road where a passing motorist picked them up and transported them to the end of the road. A second motorist arrived and helped to contact emergency services. An S&S Volunteer Ambulance Service, from Dolgeville, responded to the scene and took the man to a hospital in Utica. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian.
DEC environmental conservation officers, forest rangers and wildlife staff, with the assistance of trained bear dogs and their handlers, attempted to locate the bear Tuesday night. Based on the extensive search, DEC believes the bear has left the area and poses no continuing threat at this time. ECOs are continuing to investigate the incident.
Incidents with black bears are extremely rare. Bears generally fear humans and run away when sensing people. In some cases, bears do lose their fear of people if they have become habituated to human food. It’s not clear if that was the case in this instance.
Black bears are commonly spotted in places like the High Peaks, Old Forge, and some campgrounds. However, they don’t usually come in direct contact with people. The last known Adirondack bear incident took place in September 2013 when a woman used her pocket knife to stab a nuisance bear in the nose after it followed her while she was hiking on the Northville-Placid Trail in Indian Lake. She wasn’t injured.
The DEC recommends the following tips for people who encounter a bear:
- Never 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.
- Never run from a bear: stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice, slowly back away and leave the area.
- Use noise to scare away bears from your campsite: yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.
- Do not throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: Doing so will only encourage bears to approach and “bully” people to get food.
To report the feeding of bears or a bear encounter, contact the nearest Regional DEC Office. A list of regional offices can be found on DEC’s website.
Submitted photo: Black bear.