Photograph by Jeff Nadler

T here’s no reason
to be bearanoid, especially if you understand our ursine neighbors. These lumbering giants—boars can weigh about 500 pounds—are a critical part of our Adirondack ecosystem and deserve our respect.

But what if you encounter a bear on the trail? What if Yogi’s using your bird feeder as a snack bar?
Now there’s a clearinghouse for all things black bear. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently partnered with BearWise (, a national coalition of biologists from state conservation agencies that educates and offers tips for people living and playing in bear country.

That bear on the trail? If it hasn’t noticed you, stand still, don’t approach, then move quietly away in the opposite direction. If it sees you, don’t run—that may trigger its predatory instinct and cause it to chase you. Bears can clock speeds up to 35 miles per hour. They’re also tree-climbing masters. Back away slowly and wait for the bear to leave.

That bear in your backyard? Make loud noses—from a safe distance—to scare it away. After the bear leaves, remove any garbage, birdseed or pet food that might attract it.

And remember, in autumn bears are foraging machines, prepping for a long winter snooze. See BearWise’s website for seasonal tips on safe hiking, camping and more.

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