The DEC says it’s not too early to bear-proof your property. When the sun warms, they will wander out from their dens, looking for an easy meal. Some bears prefer bird feeders or your garbage, so you might want to clear them up, especially when you see signs of bears again. By removing what attracts them, you make people and bears safe, and the DEC suggests you encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Official Release Below:
It’s not too early for New York homeowners to think about bear-proofing their properties. While most of our bears remain in their dens due to the cold temperatures and snow coverage across much of the state, they will soon venture out with the warmer days and begin searching for food. With the abundant natural food sources available last year, many bears went into dens in good shape and well-prepared for the long winter.
That being said, male black bears will typically lose between 15 and 30 percent of their body weight, while reproductive sows can lose up to 40 percent. Because of this, bears emerging from their dens, usually beginning in mid-March, are hungry and looking for an easy meal. While ample natural spring foods are available, like skunk cabbage, grasses and other vegetation, some bears will seek out bird feeders or unsecured garbage.
Folks who feed birds in bear country should begin emptying feeders and cleaning up dropped seeds before mid-March, or anytime you observe signs of bear activity. It’s also a good time to make sure garbage cans are secured and stored in a sturdy building.
Bears are opportunistic feeders and will remember where they find easy food, then return to that location frequently. By removing bear attractants, you’re helping to keep both people and bears safe.
Do your part, and encourage your neighbors to do the same!