The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a reminder to state residents to take steps to prevent easy access to food for bears. The DEC says that natural food availability last fall was poor and, as a result, many bears went into hibernation with a low fat reserve. Now that they are returning from hibernation they may begin to seek out any food source they can find. That includes bird feeders and garbage.
The DEC says that they have already received several reports of bears knocking down bird feeders to get to the seeds. It is illegal to feed bears in NYS, intentionally or otherwise. Residents who live in bear territory or those who plan to visit those areas should remove any items that are attractive to bears. The recommendation from the state is to take down bird feeders by April 1st, store all garbage inside secure structures and feed your pets indoors. The NYS DEC states, “Allowing bears to find food naturally keeps them out of trouble and reduces negative interactions with people and property.”
If you should ever encounter a bear in the wild, the NYS DEC has these recommendations for you: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/94710.html