Black bears aren't uncommon in Central New York, but you don't often hear of them in suburban areas. Is one hanging around in New Hartford?

Pamela Lynne posted in the New Hartford United Facebook group this weekend to issues a "heads up" to her fellow residents.

"(On Saturday, around) 8:00 PM black bear ran through my backyard on Higby Rd headed towards Graffenburg Rd."

There haven't been any further reported sightings of the bear, but if you're in the area, you probably want to be alert - and make sure you don't leave anything out that might attract a bear - like food or a bird feeder, according to the DEC.

The DEC says bears are naturally curious and intelligent animals - if they are fed, they will come back.

If you encounter a bear (tips courtesy of the DEC)

DO:
Most black bears prefer to avoid humans.

  • Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots (or other items) immediately upon sighting a bear near your home.
  • Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
  • Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.

DON'T:

  • Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Run from a bear: They may chase.
  • Feed a bear by throwing it food: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other residents, and the bears.