Bears In Montebello

Bears In Montebello
By Warren Berbit, Village Attorney

We are blessed to be living in an area which transitions between relatively low-density residences and abutting forests and mountainous areas. Along with the natural beauty and tranquility comes inevitable contact with other creatures who call this area their home, such as deer, fox, coyote, wild turkeys and black BEARS. Given that bear-human contact seems to be on the rise, and how formidable a black bear can be in the wrong context, they are the focus of this brief article.

Bears are very intelligent, have excellent memories, and are food driven. Thus, once they have found food by the exercise of their profound sense of smell, they will return to the same location over and over with the same expectation. It is in that context that most interactions occur, and, obviously, it is unwise to get between a bear and its intended food source.  Bears by nature, usually are wary and shy of humans, and tend to avoid them. IN OTHER WORDS, ELIMINATE THE IMPRESSION OR PRESENCE OF A FOOD SOURCE, AND YOU WILL IN ALL LIKELIHOOD ELIMINATE THE CHANCE OF A BEAR ENCOUNTER.

Accordingly, eliminate all the following outdoor activities during the spring and summer to greatly reduce the chance of a bear encounter:

  1. Take down the bird feeder.
  2. Do not feed your pets outdoors and do not leave bowls of food for them to graze.
  3. Do not leave or spread food for other critters outdoors.
  4. Clean your grill and surrounding areas of grease and fat drippings.
  5. Do not leave garbage out except, when you must, shortly before the pickup, and use bear proof containers if you can. (You can place ammonia-soaked rags in the garbage to cut down on the attractive food odor likely to draw bears.)

In the event of an encounter, disengage as best you can. The Town of Ramapo Police Department advises that it will not react unless 1) a bear is cornered in a tree, or 2) a bear is trapped and is a potential concern for harmful human contact. When in doubt, call the Town of Ramapo Police at (845) 357-2400 or the Department of Environmental Conservation at (518) 402-9149. The DEC indicates that most situations will resolve themselves, but to keep in mind that if intervention is needed the nearest DEC office is in New Paltz.

For further information please open the DEC link, “Reducing Human-Bear Conflicts”

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