There has been an unusually high volume of black bear reports in the Central New York region of Upstate New York. Is this normal?

Kenneth Gates posted in the Buy Nothing Westmoreland on June 20th around 5:30AM that he saw a black bear near the highway:

Just saw a black bear cross Fairway Dr at Dean's Hwy. It was headed south towards 5."

Around 8AM on the same day, Sherri Loveland Laribee posted that she saw a bear in the Clinton area:

If you are in the area of skyline drive today, keep an eye out for a black bear. Last seen at 530am crossing route 5 at deans highway and heading in the south direction."

According to WKTV, Jeff Szarek captured the bear on his home surveillance camera in his backyard on Shannon Circle heading west toward Deans Highway.

Just last week there was a black bear on Bell Hill Road in Deerfield. Paula Brittelli sent NEWSChannel 2 a photo of the bear in her backyard."

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, if you encounter a black bear, you should use noise to scare it away, and try to stay calm and slowly back away. The DEC says do not approach the bear or run, as it may chase after you.

Black bears are the second largest mammal in New York State behind the moose. Currently there is estimated at a minimum of 6,000-8,000 bears in areas open to hunting. That break down includes 50-60% inhabit the Adirondack region, 30-35% inhabit the Catskill region, and 10-15% inhabit the central-western region.

Contact the NYSDEC if you spot black bears in any of the following regions:

Eastern Adirondacks: (518) 897-1291
Western Adirondacks: (315) 785-2261
Northern Catskills: (607) 652-7367
Southern Catskills: (845) 256-3098
Central New York: (607) 753-3095 ext. 247
Eastern Allegany region: (607) 776-2165, ext. 16
Western Allegany region: (716) 372-0645"

Why Are We Seeing More Sightings?

Tom Cunningham, a DEC wildlife technician at the DEC's Cortland office, told is that baby bears are trying to find their own territory:

"We've reached a point where all of (Upstate New York) is bear habitat," he said. One of the big reasons that bears appear to be turning up in "weird" places this time of year is that the sows (mother bears) begin kicking out their cubs from last year and these young bears are out roaming trying to find and establish their own home ranges."

He added that most times these bears are just passing through, but you still should be safe and avoid attracting them to your area:

"Remove the attractant. That means taking away food sources that make bears hang around residences, schools or other public areas, such as bird feeders or open garbage cans. And the best thing you can do (if you spot one) is to make a lot of noise, wave your hands, bang garbage can tops together - 9 times out of 10 the bear will run the other way"

If you see any bears, send us a photo on our station app.

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