The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted a ten-year black bear management plan which outlines the principles and methods used to monitor and manage black bear populations in New York and is designed to provide strategic guidance for the DEC’s activities. The plan includes several proposed changes to hunting rules, for which the DEC is seeking public comments. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Black Bears’
New York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York. The bear take in the Adirondacks however, continues to decline.
According to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife managers, the high take elsewhere in the state is a result of increased bear populations and the abundance of hard mast that kept bears actively feeding later into the fall when deer season was open. » Continue Reading.
At one time, the state’s bears were largely confined to the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Allegheny Plateau. During the past two decades, however, they have spread to every county outside New York City and Long Island.
As a result, the number of bear complaints has risen dramatically in recent years. In most cases, bears in search of food—such as crops, bird seed, and garbage—cause property damage. Occasionally, they might break into a residence, attack pets, or act aggressively toward people. » Continue Reading.
Deep in the winter-dark woods, beneath the roots of a fallen tree, a mother black bear hibernates with her two yearling cubs. In the spring, they will wake up in a near starvation condition, their fat reserves depleted. The mother bear’s bones, however, will be as strong and as thick as the day she lay down, and her young may even have added bone mass over the winter.
Bears are the only animals known to maintain their bone mass during prolonged periods of inactivity. To consider what a feat this is, consider humans’ susceptibility to bone loss: astronauts who spend six months in the weightless environment of space can lose nearly ten percent of their bone mass, and people forced to spend several months in bed may experience similar declines.
So why are bears different? And what can we learn from their biochemical processes that may help us treat osteoporosis and other bone diseases? » Continue Reading.
Hard mast, the term used to refer to the nuts wild trees produce, is humbling this way. We know that, generally speaking, trees require a lot of energy to produce nuts, and so a tree won’t produce them every year. The books say every two or three years for beech nuts and three to seven years for oaks, but take it all with a grain of salt.
There are advantages, from a tree’s perspective, to being unpredictable. Abundant years followed by lean years keep seed predators in check. (Biologists call this predator satiation.) In a good year, the woods are flooded with nuts – more than any squirrel or mouse can eat. The next fall, when rodent populations are high thanks to all the easy living, the trees take the year off and the surplus rodents starve.
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Stafford, who is twenty-two, was forced to stab a bear in the face when it charged her in the woods on the Northville-Placid Trail.
“The whole time I kept thinking, if this bear wanted me, it could have me in a heartbeat. I considered throwing things at it, running at it, but I was afraid it would provoke aggression. I didn’t react until I had to,” said Stafford, who graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology last spring and is a member of the Army Reserves. » Continue Reading.
In the Adirondacks, all forms of wildlife have a natural fear of humans. This is the primary reason why hikers, campers, and individuals sitting on their back porch don’t generally see many creatures, despite being outside for long periods of time.
Should a healthy animal detect the presence of a person, it inevitably hides or immediately flees in order to avoid being seen. » Continue Reading.
The late summer and early fall weather has been ideal for exploring the Adirondack backcountry. The mostly sunny days and clear cool nights are near-perfect conditions for bushwhacking through remote and wild areas, regardless of the season. With the weather and my hording of vacation time this year, the stars seemed aligned for an interesting late season adventure.
Except for one tiny detail, it is hunting season. That time of the year when bullets and arrows fly, causing wildlife, in addition to a few hikers and bushwhackers, to flee for their lives. In my opinion, a hail of bullets and/or arrows whizzing by one’s head is uniquely qualified as the easiest way to ruin a backcountry trip.
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First I read in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that hiker on the Northville-Placid Trail stabbed a bear that had been following her. The bear took off; she’s all right. Read the story here.
Then I read on the Times Union’s website that a bull moose had wandered into a backyard in Halfmoon, a suburb of Albany. State officials tranquilized the animal and planned to release it in the southern Adirondacks. Read the story here.
Remember that long-ago weekly ritual, the trip to the dump with Dad? I’m talking about the 1960s, and maybe in some cases the 1970s. If you’re not old enough to look back that far, you’ll be amazed (appalled) to see how trash, garbage, and another-man’s-treasures were disposed of by most folks.
It was a part of small-town life that we can now look back on and be thankful it has largely vanished. From a child’s perspective, the dump was a mysterious and somewhat scary place that you couldn’t wait to visit, and soon enough couldn’t wait to leave. » Continue Reading.
If you’ve been reading the Adirondack Almanack for a while, you may recall my emotional writing about the heron nest I found in the spring of 2012, and the three charming youngsters that were about half-grown when nature intervened and they became dinner for some predator like a large owl or a bald eagle. I was devastated as I’d been quietly visiting the nest site for weeks, observing and photographing the heron family. You can see a YouTube video of one of the parents feeding the three youngsters here.
I’m happy to say, the herons are back on the nest. Or more accurately, according to what I’ve read, a male heron, perhaps the same one, returned to this nest site, made sure the nest was in tip-top shape, and then courted a female (who may not be the same one as last year) and convinced her to join him for mating season. I trust those close friends who know where this pond is will keep it quiet and not disturb this nesting pair. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidance on preventing conflicts with coyotes and bears. With the onset of warmer weather, New York’s black bear population will be on the move and coyotes are setting up denning areas for soon-to-arrive pups. Conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes become territorial around den sites and increase the frequency and intensity of foraging to provide food for their young.
Eastern coyotes and black bears are firmly established in New York, and an integral part of our ecosystems. In most cases, these animals avoid people as much as possible. However, if they learn to associate people with food (e.g., garbage, pet food, bird feeders), they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for conflicts increases dramatically. Here are steps you can take to avoid conflicts with coyotes and bears: » Continue Reading.
Yellow-Yellow, roughly 20 years of age, of the Marcy Dam-Lake Colden corridor in the High Peaks Wilderness ascended to her heavenly den for an eternal hibernation after being slain by a hunter’s bullet on October 21, 2012 in the town of Jay (as reported by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise).
Yellow-Yellow was a shy, small female black bear, named after the color of the tags placed on each ear by New York State Department of Conservation wildlife biologists in the early 2000’s. She was known more for stealth and ingenuity than brawn, which eventually led to her notoriety. As bears go, she typically avoided contact with humans, being more thief than brigand.
Apparently, advanced age brought about an alleged increased aggressiveness toward campers and hikers with food, which is a common phenomenon among the animal kingdom as anyone observing geriatrics at a Denny’s around five in the afternoon can attest. Perhaps this aggressiveness played a role in her recent demise.
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There was one neighborhood in Jacksonville where I heard sirens every night. For two years. A woman had her purse snatched in broad daylight, and she was a cop. I heard gun shots a few times and more domestic disputes than I care to remember. I heard kids crying for hours on end and guys blasting rap at four in the morning. There was a lot of noise in that place. The apartment I got after that one was a few blocks from the ocean and on Sunday mornings, when everyone else was at church and Pico and I played Frisbee, I could clearly hear the rolling sound of the ocean. » Continue Reading.
If you’ve never heard of Bizarro World, then you didn’t read Superman comics as a kid. Well I didn’t either, but I learned about it in an episode of Seinfeld. I am in my own personal Bizarro World right now, flying about thirty thousand feet on my way to South Carolina via Chicago. And I can’t think of any place that could be farther from my simple lifestyle. This is as far from simple as you can get.
The guy sitting next to me has commandeered the armrest, which I guess is alright since we’re in an exit row. You have to take the good with the bad. I’m also pretty sure he is reading what I write. It’s OK for you to keep the armrest; I have the aisle, and that’s a fair trade.
It has been simple out at the cabin. The leaves are gorgeous and in the Northern Adirondacks peak leaf season is just about over. The red carpet of leaves on the trails is so bright it almost hurts your eyes, and the yellows, oranges and golds overhead create the appearance of a nice bright day even when it’s overcast and rainy. But those random shafts of light that penetrate the trees bring out so much color it’s a wonder to behold. » Continue Reading.