NEVER FEED BEARS INTENTIONALLY. Feeding bears intentionally is illegal and a ticketable offense. Bears that obtain food from humans will continue to seek food from humans and become nuisance bears.
To reduce the potential for human-bear conflicts, DEC advises everyone residing in or visiting bear country (much of upstate New York) to remove any attractants. People should take down birdfeeders and clean up any remaining bird seed by April 1, store garbage inside secure buildings, and feed pets indoors. By taking these simple steps, New Yorkers can help to ensure bears will find food naturally, which in turn protects people, property, and bears.
Due to the amount of nuisance bear activity in the Town of Wilton and residents non-compliance with direction to avoid attracting nuisance bears, DEC is shifting from an educational mode to an enforcement mode. Residences with bird feeders and other bear attractants will be given a written warning by NYS DEC. If they fail to heed the warning they may be issued a ticket that could result in a maximum penalty of $250 fine and 15 days in jail.
TO AVOID A WRITTEN WARNING AND/OR TICKET FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS:
Are bird feeders really a problem for bears? Yes, bears (and other wildlife) are readily attracted to back yards because of the presence of bird feeders. Bear nuisance complaint records reveal that at certain times of the year, bird feeders are involved in over 80% of the bear problems around homes. The situation often escalates to other unnatural food sources such as garbage cans, barbeque grills, and compost piles as bears become bolder and more acclimated to people. Such activities are not in the best interest of the bears or the homeowners.
In New York State, 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 whatever food they can access most easily. 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.