Seeing a bear in the Adirondack or the Catskill Mountains is normal. Seeing one in your neighborhood is rare but it does happen. And it seems to be happening a lot this year in Central New York.

Michelle Larmon says one was roaming by her house on Center Road in Madison. "Michael was sitting on our deck and saw a bear. We didn't bother it, and it went into the woods."

This isn't the first bear to be seen in residential areas. One was recently spotted in Clinton and another in Rome.

Kevin Malachowski had an early morning visitor in his backyard on Red Hill Road in Clinton on Monday, June 21.

Marissa Marie Carollo captured another one on a Ring camera Tuesday, June 22. "This was in the neighbor's yard behind our house," she wrote on Facebook. "After a ton of phone calls, I finally got an amazing DEC contact that came to inspect the area for me and coach me in this type of situation."

Credit - Marissa Marie Carollo
Credit - Marissa Marie Carollo

In New York, there's a minimum of 6,000 to 8,000 bears, according to the DEC, and they have already received a number of reports of bear sightings across the state.

Bears are curious animals and spend a great deal of time exploring for food. And they are smart. Bears learn from experience. If they find food, they will be back.

That's why it's important to take down any bird feeders on your property. Birdfeed such as suet and seeds are a very strong attraction for bears.

A black bear mother and her two cubs found a snack in the bird feeder of a home in the Hamlet of Round Top. As the trio destroyed the feeder in the course of their meal one of the Cubs’ heads became stuck in the bucket part of the feeder.


Mother Bear and Her Cubs Destroying a Bird Feeder
Bear Cub With Head Caught in Bird Feeder

The DEC has tips on how to keep bears away from your property and what to do if you encounter one.

To Avoid Bears Coming Onto Your Property:

  • Clean your grill. Turn the grill on high for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors.
  • Lock up your trash. Garbage is extremely attractive to bears. It should always be kept in sealed garbage cans inside a building like a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear.
  • Do not feed your pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
  • Do not have refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.


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


  • 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.
  • Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: 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 campers/residents, and the bears.
  • Further Action
  • If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
  • If a bear charges you: Stand your ground. If you have bear spray (leaves DEC website), dispense directly at the bear.
  • If a bear follows you: Stand your ground. Intimidate by making yourself look bigger by waving arms, clapping, shouting, or banging sticks. Prepare to fight or use bear spray.
  • If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).

If You're Camping:

  • Throw out all your trash and recyclables.
  • Lock up your coolers and food. Store food in either the trunk of your car or in the cab of your truck. Keep windows shut and food and coolers out of sight.
  • NEVER keep food, coolers, or scented items in your tent.
  • Treat all toiletries as food items. Toiletry products are heavily scented and are as attractive to bears as actual food.
  • Clean up after all meals immediately. Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and washbasins clean when not in use.
  • Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles, or other refuse into the fireplace. These items do not properly burn and will attract bears with their odors.
  • Always remember when exploring the wilderness - you're in their home. Be vigilant and stay safe.

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