DEC tips to keep black bears away

By Anna Norris

DEC tips to keep black bears away

July 24, 2014 Updated Jul 25, 2014 at 5:12 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging outdoor summer fun, but giving tips on how to keep an unwanted guest away from your getaway.

According to the DEC, black bears anxiously await food that's readily available. Campsites and summer picnics are prime locations.

Once bears learn about human food sources, it is not easy to recondition them to the wild.

The DEC also reminds people it is against the law to feed bear, deer and moose.

The DEC said black bears are generally timid animals, but temptations with human food can cause chronic problems. During midsummer and dry conditions, the black bear’s natural foods are much more difficult to find.

DEC Wildlife and Law Enforcement said it is the responsibility of New York residents and visitors to prevent bears from gaining access to food though bird food, garbage and unattended coolers.

The DEC offers the following guidelines to discourage black bears:

- When camping, keep food out of sight and secured in a vehicle if possible. Hang food and garbage from a tree, out of reach (8 feet or higher). 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 and water. Store your garbage cans in a secure place such as a garage, cellar or a bear-resistant container, instead of a porch.

-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 food indoors. If you must feed outdoors, give only enough food for one feeding, then 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.

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