I started this article last year about this time and decided it was time to finish it. Although I have never seen a black bear, many of my neighbors have had sightings at their bird feeders, crossing the back roads, swimming across Hemlock Lake, or coming into their yard to eat garbage or compost. My up close and personal experience was hearing a growl, smelling an awful smell in the night air around my house, watching my dog sniff in the air for a few nights and bark to indicate a strange animal was close by. Although I did not see anything, I’ve been told it is a black bear.
Last year I called the DEC to let them know something growled at me and my grandchildren in the Canadice Outlet and followed us home that night. I thought that this animal was injured, or even questioned if it was a cougar, as the smell was very strong like a dead animal and it seemed to be stalking us. My response from an officer was “get used to living with the bears lady, take your bird feeders down and keep your garbage inside! This past fall I was told by some other neighbors that someone had documented 18 bear living in the Canadice Outlet. Although I have trouble believing this, I’ve gone down to the outlet which is behind my house for many years, never thinking there were bears out there. I have to admit I am a little hesitant hiking there alone now.
A week ago neighbors on Canadice Lake Road reported seeing a large black bear walking down the road and another seen on Canadice Hollow Road near the outlet area. The bears are waking up (they do not hibernate, just go into a deep sleep) and are on the move now that the weather has warmed. If anyone has any reports or pictures please comment to this article and we can begin to document stories. Maybe we can learn to live with the bears if we can see their patterns, be aware of their locations, and know how to handle an encounter if we have one.