Wandering black bear sighted in Floyd, Steuben and Whitesboro

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WHITESBORO — A wandering black bear was captured on a home security camera in the Village of Whitesboro early Wednesday morning.

The 1 a.m. footage captured the bear walking through a back yard near Hart’s Hill Elementary School. The footage was posted on social media, where other reports of wandering bears have been reported. Other bear sightings within the past several days include one in Steuben and another in Floyd.

The person in Floyd posted about seeing a black bear on Middle Road, which runs from Stearns Road, crosses Route 365 and ends on Rickmeyer Road. The individual, out for a jog, came across the bear as it trotted across the road in front of him. According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, by this time of year bears are past their mating season and instead are eating and drinking nearly non-stop to try to put on some weight as their prepare their bodies for winter hibernation. Bear cubs typically stay with their mothers for about two years as they learn how to hunt and survive.

Black bears typically hibernate up to five months during the winter, officials said. They are omnivores and are known to eat nearly anything, from grasses to berries, fruits, nuts, seeds and carrion. They are also known to eat human sources of food, such as corn, honey, bird seed, trash and pet food.

DEC officials warn against approaching bears if they are spotted. They said people should stay calm and walk away slowly. According to the DEC, there are at least 6,000 to 8,000 black bears in areas of New York open to hunting. About 10 to 15% of those bears live in the central and western areas of the state. Officials said transient bears are routinely encountered in the Mohawk Valley. Officials said black bears are naturally curious, which is why they are so willing to get close to human settlements while on the search for food. Bears are also intelligent and learn from experience, which means bears will remember if a human feeds them and will likely come back for more.

And the DEC has tips on how to make your home and campsite safer.

At home:

Remove all bird feeders.

Keep garbage, grills, pet food and bird seed inside a solid, secure structure like a shed or garage.

If a grill cannot be secured inside, move it away from the house and remove the grease trap after each use.

Put garbage on the curb the morning of collection, not the night before.

At camp:

Clean up immediately after all meals, and keep grills, pots, pans, utensils and wash basins clean when not in use.

Keep coolers and food inside car trunks or truck cabs, with food kept inside coolers and food lockers.

Never leave food, coolers, scented items or toiletries in tents.

Do not throw grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles or other refuse into the fire.

If you encounter a bear:

Don’t panic. Most bears are just as afraid of you as you are of them.

Never approach, surround or corner a bear.

Back away slowly. Do not run.

Do not throw backpacks or food at bears. If they are given food, they will continue to seek food from people.

If feeling threatened by a bear, raise your arms over your heard to look bigger and yell loudly, while also backing away slowly.

For more information on black bears, visit www.DEC.ny.gov.

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