Corning Guidelines for Black Bear Sightings

CORNING, NY (WETM) – Following reports of black bears in the neighborhood, the City of Corning is issuing a series of reminders to residents on how to handle bear sightings.

The city said while bear sightings typically begin in May, there have already been social media posts showing them roaming Corning in February and March. The city also reminded residents of New York’s DEC list of guidelines to “reduce human-bear conflict.”

These include keeping trash and birdseed in a secure container in a safe place, such as a garage, and only taking the trash out the morning it is due to be picked up. Other suggestions include only feeding birds from December through April, feeding pets indoors, and cleaning your grill after each use.

Although police may not always be able to respond to a bear sighting, Corning Police Chief Jeff Spaulding said residents should always call so authorities can have accurate data. “Above all, never approach a bear. Bears are large, powerful wild animals that act and react by instinct,” Spaulding said.

The list of City of Corning guidelines is below:

If you encounter a bear while walking, stay calm

  • NEVER RUN. Running can cause a bear to chase you.
  • Keep your distance. Back up slowly while facing the bear. Avoid direct contact with eyes.
  • Slowly and calmly leave the area. Speak out loud so the bear notices you.
  • Be very careful around a female with cubs. Never approach a bear cub.
  • NEVER throw food to distract a bear. This teaches a bear to approach people for food.
  • Push back if attacked. Black bears have been driven away when people fight with rocks, sticks, or even bare hands.
  • Report bear sightings that occur within the city limits to the Corning Police Department at (607) 962-0340 ext. 1500. Call 911 in an emergency.

Protect your garden against bears – Once a bear finds food, it wants more.

  • Protect your trash from bears. Keep trash indoors until it’s time to pick it up.
  • Feed pets indoors and store pet food indoors.
  • Clean barbecue grates immediately after use. Don’t forget to empty or clean the grill “drip pan”
  • Only feed the birds between December 1 and April 1. This is when birds need it and bears normally hibernate. Bears love birdseed and hummingbird feeders.
  • Never store food outdoors. Bears can even tear through locked containers.
  • Fruit trees and shrubs can attract bears. Harvest fruits and vegetables as they ripen. Pick up fallen fruit on the ground. Keep your lawn mowed and free of flowering dandelions and clovers.
  • Keep compost clean and securely closed.
  • Educate your neighbors. If you follow these steps but your neighbors don’t, bears can still come to your yard.

If you see a bear in the area:

  • Stay calm. If the bear cannot find food, it usually leaves.
  • Stay away. Bears might attack if they feel threatened.
  • Warn others. Bring children and pets inside. Remind others to keep their distance.
  • Scare the bear. Make sure the bear has a clear escape route. Make lots of noise, turn on the lights, and bang pots and pans together. Don’t let the bear get cozy around your house.
  • Remove attractants. Once the bear is gone, make sure your home and yard are bear safe.
  • If the bear is actively threatening human safety or pets, or destroying property, call 911. Otherwise, report bear sightings that occur within city limits to the Corning Police Department at (607 ) 962-0340 ext. 1500

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