2016-09-21 / Front Page

Bear Injures Hancock Man

By Abby Butler

Black bears are often attracted to the smell of garbage. 
photo from DEC website Black bears are often attracted to the smell of garbage. photo from DEC website HANCOCK - On Wednesday, Sept. 14 at approximately 9:30 p.m., the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) received word from Delaware County 911 that an individual was injured by a black bear in the town of Hancock. Upon responding to a residence on Peas Eddy Road, the Environmental Conservation Officer (ECO) found that a sow bear and at least two cubs had gotten into some garbage left on the porch of the residence.

The homeowner was injured after running out of the house and encountering the adult bear faceto face while rounding a corner. The individual was scratched by the bear and suffered a knee injury.

A dog living at the residence came out and began fighting with the adult bear. Another individual shot at the adult bear twice with a handgun, though there was no evidence at the scene that any of the bears were hit by the shots. The bears had left the area by morning and the incident remains under investigation.

The homeowner was treated on scene and transported to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton for treatment of non-lifethreatening injuries. The dog was treated for non-life-threatening injures, as well.

According to Rick Georgeson, a public information officer for the DEC, this type of incident is rare in New York State because black bears “tend to shy away from people.” He indicated that the incident was a result of “the bears being attracted to an unnatural food source. If you remove the food source, you remove the problem almost 100 percent of the time,” he said.

Georgeson explained that garbage is extremely attractive to bears and 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,” he said.

According to the DEC website, the leading cause of bear complaints in New York state is bears getting into residential garbage and bird feeders. Homeowners can reduce the bear attractants at their property by removing bird feeders after April 1, removing the grease can from grills after every use and avoiding operating refrigerators and freezers outside or on porches.

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