It’s not too early for New York homeowners to think about bear-proofing their properties. While most of our bears are still in their dens, the mild winter weather has allowed some of them to stay on foot searching for food.
This is especially true in southeastern New York where wildlife biologists say reports of active bears have been coming in weekly. The abundant natural food resources from the fall of 2019 have left ample pickings for these bears, but some will seek other easy meals from bird feeders or unsecured garbage. In most years, we see bears leaving their dens beginning around mid-March.
Folks who feed birds in bear country should begin emptying feeders and cleaning up dropped seeds before then, or anytime you observe signs of bear activity. It’s also a good time to make sure garbage cans are secured. If the month of March follows this year’s mild trend, home and camp owners may want to start these tasks earlier than normal.
More information on black bears can be found on DEC’s website.
Photo of black bear courtesy DEC.