Good housekeeping is a requirement wherever black bears are found. Simple sanitation measures can be the key to avoid attracting bears. Take responsibility for your safety and encourage your neighbors to do the same!
- Remove bird feeders by April 1. New York's black bears begin emerging from their winter dens in mid to late March. Bird feed such as suet and seeds are a very strong attraction for bears, even if they can't reach them. Read more about bears and bird feeders.
- Garbage is extremely attractive to bears! It should always be kept in sealed garbage cans inside a sturdy building like a garage or shed. Anything with an odor can attract a bear. Note: Burning garbage is illegal and may increase its attractiveness to bears.
- Mask garbage odors with ammonia-soaked rags.
- If you have curbside garbage pickup- take out trash just before your scheduled pickup. Do not put garbage at the curb the night before.
- Do not place meat or bones in compost piles.
- Remove the grease can from grills after every use. Turn the grill on "High" for several minutes after you are done cooking to burn residual odors off the grill.
- Do not place food outside to attract wildlife. Any food items used to attract birds, squirrels, or other wildlife will also attract bears.
- Do not feed pets outside. Leftover food or even an empty dish can attract a bear.
- Do not operate refrigerators or freezers outside or on porches. Bears can smell what is inside.
A summary of the information can also be found in the brochure Living With Bears (PDF).