Albany – New York state environmental officials are offering some tips to keep away nuisance bears during camping season.
Black bears generally avoid people, but they are notorious for taking advantage of any available food source.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation recommends keeping food out of sight and secured in a vehicle, if possible, when camping. Hang food and garbage from a tree and keep it at least eight feet high.
Also, dispose of garbage frequently and do not leave dirty diapers or diaper pails outside.
It’s against the law to feed bear, as well as deer and moose.
New Yorkers can help by following these guidelines:
- When camping, keep food out of sight and secured in a vehicle if one is available. Hang food and garbage from a tree, out of reach (8 feet or higher). Also, keep picnic tables, utensils, fireplaces and the area around them clean. Do not leave coolers unattended.
- Do not feed birds through the summer. Birds don’t really need supplemental food this time of year when their natural food is most abundant.
- Dispose of garbage as frequently as possible. Store it in clean, secure containers (top-latched, tied or chained). Double bag meat scraps in a zip lock bag. Use ammonia soaked rags inside the garbage bag before closing. Tie off garbage bag before placing in container.
- Do not leave dirty diapers or diaper pails outside.
- If you live in an area frequented by bears, periodically disinfect or scrub garbage cans with Lysol, ammonia or bleach & water, store your garbage cans in a secure place such as a garage, cellar or a bear-resistant container, instead of a porch if possible.
- If your garbage is picked up at the curb, put the garbage out just before the scheduled pickup or place it in a roadside bear-resistant container. Don’t put garbage out the night before pick-up at the curb.
- Feed pets and store foods indoors. If you must feed outdoors, give only enough food for one feeding, take in all uneaten food and dishes before dark.
- Remember that the smell of cooked foods may attract wandering bears closer to your house. Clean up after your picnic or barbecue. Keep barbeque grills as clean as possible and after they cool down store them inside. Do not overlook cleaning the grease trap.
- Don’t add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost pile.
- Don’t leave food visible for bears to see in through windows. Close blinds if necessary.
- It’s against the law to feed a bear. If you witness bear feeding activity, report the incident to DEC Law Enforcement immediately.