Be 'BearWise' this summer

Only you can prevent bears taking advantage.

FINGER LAKES – Summer is a busy time for bears. Young bears disperse from family groups, breeding bears search for mates, and all bears forage for food to gain the fat needed for winter. With this increased activity comes a greater potential for human-bear conflicts when bears find food near people. 


The simple answer is food! Bears are more likely to seek out human food sources in the spring and the summer. During these times, natural food sources may be scarce, particularly during periods of drought. The leading cause of bear complaints in N.Y. is bears getting into residential garbage and bird feeders.

In New York, people and black bears often find themselves living nearby one another. Bears can obtain all of the nourishment they need from the forest, but they are intelligent and opportunistic animals. They will find and consume the easiest food they can access.

Bears must often cross roads and pass through developed areas to find the varied habitat types that produce their seasonal food sources. They often find human foods readily accessible along the way if homeowners do not take necessary precautions. Not every bear that passes through a developed area is a 'problem bear'. However, available human food sources can quickly turn them into one.

What you can do

Take a few simple steps this summer to protect your community and the bears from harm.

Remove the attractants to live responsibly with bears. For more information, please visit