Carl Lindsey and staff from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation employed a portable bear barrel trap to capture one of the bear at Camp Sternberg. The trap can also be used to transport bear to another location.
Story by Fred Stabbert III
SULLIVAN COUNTY August 27, 2013 A lack of food in the woods is bringing the black bears closer to homes, people and the downtown areas throughout Sullivan County.
“They’re everywhere,” New York State Dept. of Environmental Game biologist Carl Lindsley said this week. “One bear got into Karl Hof’s house in Eldred with his mother and dog inside.”
That is but one example of encounters of the close kind.
In Beaverbrook, a hamlet located between Yulan and Narrowsburg, Lindsley has already had to deal with four bears at Camp Sternberg.
“I had to kill two of them,” he said. “The other day I had one on the ground and was processing him when another one ran up a tree. I tagged and released both of them near Hickcock Brook in Eldred.
“They were all males and all about the same size,” he said.
Lindsley believes the shortage of acorns, blueberries and other forage in the woods is bringing the bears nearer to humans as they try to fatten up before their hibernation.
Another reason for the increased sightings and confrontations with black bears is that their numbers are simply increasing.
“Someone told me that they spotted a sow with five cubs,” Lindsley said. “Usually they have one or two but if they are having five that will certainly increase the number of bears in our area.”
Lindsley, who has been involved with bears for more than four decades, said, “They are all throughout the county.
“One killed a pig up on White Roe Lake Rd. above Livingston Manor and started chasing another pig around,” he said.
Another bear crawled on the hood of a new car near Parksville and scratched it all up.
He is also investigating a bear which is killing chickens in Hugeonot.
Bears have also been sighted in Hortonville and near Callicoon with numerous complaints of garbage can invasions and other nuisance calls.
The archers should have a very good season, Lindsley said.
In New York State, people and black bears often find themselves living in the same areas. With encounters nearly inevitable, it’s good to know how to keep those encounters safe and enjoyable for you and the bears. The State DEC recommends the following safety measures to discourage black bears around home and camp:
• Remove bird feeders for the entire summer. Bird feed such as suet and seeds are a very strong attraction for bears, even if they can’t reach it.
• Do not leave garbage outside of houses or garages. Grease, fat, bacon and other meats are extremely attractive to bears. These items should be disposed of in sealed containers. Note: Burning makes garbage more attractive.
• Clean garbage cans and other refuse containers frequently with ammonia, bleach or Lysol.
• Mask food odors in garbage cans by using camphor disks (available from some drug stores), mothballs, air fresheners, or Lysol and ammonia-soaked rags.
• Use plastic bags inside garbage cans to help hide odors.
• Store garbage cans in a secure place such as a garage, rather than storing them on a porch.
• Empty garbage dumpsters at camping areas after dinner to decrease the chance of attracting bears. Construction of a garbage storage facility may be necessary when dump facilities are not open daily.
• Remove the grease can from gas and charcoal grills after every use. Turn the grill on "High" for several minutes after you are done cooking.
• Clean barbecue pits and grills thoroughly before leaving them outside. (We recommend using aluminum foil and cleaning these items with an ammonia cleaner.)
• Do not place food outside to attract wildlife.
• Clean old refrigerators and other insulated containers that are left outside.
• Turn off kitchen exhaust fans that vent to the outside when not in use. Make sure the vent screen is cleaned regularly.
• Do not feed family pets outside. An empty dish can attract a bear.
• Leave outdoor lights on, or a radio playing, all night.
• Do not hand-feed bears from cars at campgrounds and dump sites. Note: A bear is a wild animal and should be respected. We discourage feeding practices of all types.
• Do not leave dirty diapers or diaper pails outside.
Remember: Bears are attracted by smells. With the exception of ammonia, Lysol, camphor and other strong smells, everything smells like potential bear food. Remove the food attractant and you'll remove the bear.