Hikers & Campers Be Aware: High Bear Activity in Dix Mountain Wilderness

SAMANTHA TAILLON

DEC has alerted hikers and campers of high bear activity in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. Running into wildlife is inevitable while hiking, but bears are nothing to mess around with. Learn more about bears so you can be prepared for any encounter.black bear in the woods

Recent Bear Activity

Reports say black bears have been stealing food from hikers and campers, and have even been approaching humans in an attempt to get food.

Bears have approached hikers in the area around Gill Brook, Indian Pass, Mount Colvin, Elk Pass and Nippletop. Other bears have stolen food from campers and rock climbers in the Chapel Pond area.

As a result, the DEC has temporarily closed one of the Chapel Pond Outlet campsites while it attempts to capture the bears. Once the bears are captured and tagged, they will be released.

How To Avoid Conflict With Bears

The DEC reminds hikers and campers to keep all food, toiletries, and garbage in bear resistant canisters. Campers should prepare and eat food away from their tent sites and should not cook or eat after dark. Rock climbers should keep all food in their vehicle or carry it with them while climbing.

To report an encounter with a bear, call the DEC Regional Wildlife Office at 518-897-1291.

Black Bear Encounters

If you Encounter a Bear:

Never Approach, Surround, or Corner a Bear – Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.

Never Run from a Bear– stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice, slowly back away and leave the area.

Use Noise to Scare away Bears from Your Campsite– yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.

Do Not Throw Your Backpack or Food Bag at an Approaching Bear

  • Doing so will only encourage bears to approach and “bully” people to get food.
  • By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other campers/residents, and the bears.
A black bear in the forest.
Most black bears prefer to avoid humans.

In Your Yard:

  • From a safe distance, make loud noises by shouting or banging pots to scare the bear away.
  • Once the bear leaves, remove all attractants such as bird seed, garbage, and pet food.
  • Ask neighbors to remove attractants.

In a Building:

  • Give the bear a clear escape route.
  • Leave any doors open as you back away from the bear.
  • Do not lock the bear in a room.

If a Bear Becomes Aggressive and:

Approaches you:

  • Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.

Charges you:

  • Stand your ground.
  • If you have bear spray, dispense directly at the bear. Please follow the link leaving the DEC’s website to learn about the proper use of bear spray.

Follows you:

  • Stay together.
  • Do not run, but continue to back away while speaking loudly.
  • If the bear continues to follow you:
    • Stand your ground.
    • Intimidate by making yourself look bigger by waving arms, clapping, shouting, banging sticks.
    • Prepare to fight or use bear spray.
  • If the bear makes contact with you:
    • Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, fists).

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