Jean Belanger was starting a climb at the Beer Walls in Chapel Pond Canyon when his girlfriend, Isabel Rodriguez, yelled up to him to come down right away. “That usually means I have a spider on my back,” Belanger said.
But there was no spider this time. Instead Rodriguez had spotted an approaching mother bear and its cub. After quickly descending, Belanger walked a short distance away from the bears and started yelling and clapping. “They didn’t make any aggressive moves toward me at all,” he said. “It was really the packs they were walking toward.”
Bear experts recommend that people do what Belanger did when they encounter a black bear in the woods: make a lot of noise to scare the animal away. Black bears are generally fearful of humans, unless they have come to associate people with food. In these cases, the bears can become bold but will still usually run from people. » Continue Reading.
My recent article here at the Adirondack Almanack about a man attacked on the toilet by a black bear appeared to elicit several comments suggesting that carrying firearms is a viable protective measure for possible bear attacks in the Adirondacks. It was never my intention to insinuate this; I just thought it was an amusing backcountry-related story.
Before I find myself liable for any incidents involving bears and firearms, it may be instructive to examine black bear behavior and the possibility of suffering from a fatal attack in the Adirondacks. I certainly do not want to be responsible for the backcountry becoming a new “wild west,” with everyone packing heat, and eager to use it at a moment’s notice. » Continue Reading.
There I was, cruising the VIC’s Sucker Brook Trail in search of spring wildflowers (translation: staring at the ground as I walked along), when to my left I heard a rustle of vegetation. “Ruffed grouse,” I thought, and turned my head, anticipating the explosion of wings as the bird made a hasty retreat towards the treetops. What I saw, however, was no ruffed grouse. It was black, it was furry, and it was galloping away from me a high speed.
My next thought was “someone’s black lab is loose.” Then it dawned on me: this was no lab, it was a bear. A small bear, probably a yearling, but a bear nonetheless. What I saw was the typical view I have of bears in the Adirondacks: the south end of the animal as it’s headed north. If I’m lucky, I’ll see the face before the animal turns tail. And this is how bears are – they fear people. Many people fear bears as well, but unlike the bear, people really have little reason to be afraid of these normally placid animals. » Continue Reading.
The black bear is one of the most fascinating wildlife species in the Adirondacks. Residents and visitors are constantly introducing human food and garbage into the home of the black bear. Wild, non-habituated bears forage for foods such as berries, nuts, insects, and grasses.
These bears will not normally show an interest in our food unless they are first introduced to it through our careless behavior. If they cannot easily get to our food they will look elsewhere. When we store food and garbage poorly, bears are attracted to this easily accessible food rather than the natural foods they must work to acquire. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the start of early bear hunting seasons in New York State.
In southeastern New York, the early bear season runs from September 10 – 25. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in the entire Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 19.
In northern New York, the early bear season runs from September 17 – October 14 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. Bowhunting season for bears also begins on September 17 in Northern Zone WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N. Muzzleloader season opens in all northern WMUs on October 15, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on October 22. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has unveiled new regulations concerning deer and bear hunting.
These regulations increase opportunities for hunters 14 and 15 years old to kill black bears, reduce antler-less kills in the western Adirondacks, clarify when special season tags may be used by bow and muzzleloader hunters, and more.
The new bear hunting regulation now includes the taking of bears in the youth firearms hunt over Columbus Day weekend that was previously a deer-only event. » Continue Reading.
Due to the dry conditions black bears have been more active than usual throughout the Adirondacks. You can take steps to prevent problems with nuisance bears.
NEVER feed bears. It is prohibited by regulation and is unsafe for humans and the bear. Nuisance bears that have become habituated to obtaining food from humans can be become aggressive, requiring DEC to euthanize them. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued guidance on how to prevent unwanted encounters with black bears. Nearly all negative bear encounters in New York are the result of hungry bears being attracted to human food sources. The simplest way to avoid a nuisance encounter is to remove potential food sources, which usually results in the bear moving on.
New York is home to between 6,000 and 7,000 bears that emerge from the winter denning period and need to replenish their nutrients and body fat. To do so, they may travel long distances to preferred habitats that vary from season to season. Bears must often cross roads or pass through developed areas to find these different habitat types, and they often find human foods readily accessible if homeowners do not take necessary precautions. » Continue Reading.
New York bear hunters killed 1,715 black bears during the 2015 hunting seasons, the second largest bear harvest on record in New York, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Only the 2003 harvest (1,863) surpassed the 2015 year’s take.
In the Northern Zone, a total of 583 bears were killed, 27 percent above the recent five-year average. Based primarily on cyclers of food availability, bear harvest in the Northern Zone tends to alternate between strong harvests during the early season one year followed by strong harvests during the regular season the next, according to DEC wildlife biologists. This year, hunters were more successful during the regular season, taking 253 bears, whereas 183 bears were taken during the early season.
Legislation is now pending in the New York State Legislature to lower the minimum age for big game hunting to 12. Assembly bill A8358 sponsored by Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) and companion Senate bill S5434 sponsored by Joseph Griffo (R-Rome) are currently pending in their respective houses’ Environmental Conservation Committees.
The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC), a sportmans and gun rights advocacy group, has been advocating for the change. Currently, the “junior hunter mentoring program” allows youths ages 14 and 15 to hunt big game with a firearm while accompanied and supervised by an adult. » Continue Reading.
New 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.
Trivia question #1: Can you identify the source of the following song lyrics snippet?
“Pearl, Pearl, Pearl, come be my loving girl; Don’t you marry Lester Flatt, He slicks his hair with possum fat, Change your name to Mrs. Earl Scruggs.”
Trivia question #2: What is the term applied to doilies that once appeared so often on the backs of chairs and sofas? (Or for you old-timers, on the backs of davenports.) Trivia question #3: What was the purpose of those doilies?
The three questions and two of the answers are tenuously related to last week’s piece on Allen’s famous bear fight up in Keene, and are linked to a world-famous product that was widely touted for preventing baldness, restoring hair growth, softening leather, cooking, hair styling, predicting the weather, thwarting attacks by all manner of biting insects, preventing frostbite, treating and healing skin injuries, sealing out the elements, and a bunch of other uses. » Continue Reading.
Last week, a black bear in a blaze orange collar showed up in our yard. Two cubs followed close behind. The sow paused to observe the house, then led her cubs up across our field and down into a small stand of apple trees beside the road. There the family feasted on piles of old apples lying in the grass. They appeared to take a methodical approach, working their way from one tree to the next.
Inside our house, the scene was not nearly as calm. There were rushed attempts at photography, foiled by warped window glass. There was my two-year-old son, precariously balanced on the back of a chair by the window, shrieking “BEAR” and occasionally, “SHOES” – his way of demanding to go outside. » Continue Reading.
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