Monday, March 7, 2016

DEC Seeks Assistance In Locating Black Bear Dens

7-year-old mother Black Bear with cubs in a den under a fallen tree - courtesy North American Black Bear CenterNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife biologists are seeking the public’s help to learn about new black bear dens throughout New York. As part of DEC’s ongoing monitoring of black bears in New York, wildlife biologists routinely check on black bears during the winter den season. The bears may be fitted with a radio collar to help biologists track the bears’ activities throughout the rest of the year and to relocate dens in subsequent years for monitoring cub production, condition, and survival.

Bears may den in a rock crevice, tree cavity, or under heavy brush or fallen tree. Since female bears generally give birth sometime in January or early February, a high-pitched squeal from the cubs may be audible if you are near a den. If anyone finds a bear den, DEC strongly urges the public to not approach or disturb the den, but simply to note the location and move away from the den site.

DEC requests that anyone locating a bear den to contact their local DEC Wildlife office with specifics about the den location, including GPS coordinates if possible.

More information about black bears in New York is available here.

Photo: 7 year old mother Black Bear with cubs in a den under a fallen tree courtesy of North American Black Bear Center.

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7 Responses

  1. Debra says:

    Keep what you know to yourself.
    Leave the bears alone… and collar free.

  2. Pete Klein says:

    Leave the bears alone. Even they deserve some privacy.

  3. Bruce says:

    Similar research is being done in the mountains of North Carolina. This research is important to bear welfare as we continually decrease habitat through development. Knowing where they go and what they do is necessary for establishing bear protection areas as well as learning what humans can do to reduce bear-human conflicts in populated areas.

    Leaving the bears alone is fine in our national parks where they have many thousands of acres to roam and total protection from humans. But even there, the need for research is important to understand what causes some black bears to consider humans as another food source, when the humans in question are doing nothing to trigger this behavior, other than simply being in that bear’s territory. In the last year, one bear researcher was stalked, and one sleeping camper was attacked by lone male black bears in two widely separated areas in the GSMNP.

    This stalking behavior has only been recognized in recent years, through extensive research.

    • Pete Klein says:

      I don’t know. Seems to me humans are good at stalking humans and every other animal on the planet.
      Maybe there is a greater need to manage the human population.
      Maybe the animals are tired of being stalked and just want to defend themselves.

      • Bruce says:


        For what it’s worth, I agree humans need better management, but it seems that isn’t really going to happen so long as a sizable portion of us enjoy using wilderness areas and living close to them. Unlike our largest national parks and wildlife refuges, the Adirondack Park is fragmented, increasing the opportunity for animal/human interaction, making research into how to avoid conflict necessary.

        • Cranberry Bill says:

          My memories of camping at the Sacandaga State Campground by Wells, NY, date to the mid ’50s to the early ’60s. At that time, so many able bodied men had served in WW2, basically camping, that camping was not big with veterans. But my dad was not able to enlist (I have read that 1/3 of prospective recruits were denied because of disability. My dad had a broken eardrum because my grandmother tried to pick a pea out of his ear with a coat hanger. His eardrum was repaired many years later.(Why not some local color?)). So my frugal father took us to Sacandaga every summer for three weeks, and we looked forward to it. After the first week, he would send me to the ranger office with the money for the next week. It was three dollars.
          What am I getting at here? One of the highlights of the three week trip was a trip to the open dump where we could watch bears scrounging for food. Once a father even tried to seat his son on a bear for a photo. No photo, no injuries. Things are better now for the bears and the people. If bears are tagged, it is mostly for their own good, not ours. And if bears don’t want a charm bracelet, just have them stay by the Robinson River where life is good and people are scarce.
          When one looks at some of our governing bodies, many things can be criticized. But I think the NY DEC does a great job for the people and the Park.

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