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Resident spots black bear in Reading

    READING—A Reading Center resident got a surprising wake-up call this past Monday morning.
    Steve Hayes, a longtime resident of Reading Center on Altay Road, said he woke up Monday, May 21, around 2:20 a.m. by the sounds of something outside his home. He said he thought it was raccoons again. However, upon looking outside, Hayes said he saw a black bear. He estimated it must have weighed around 100 pounds. Before the creature wandered off Hayes managed to take some photos of it.
    According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the black bear is New York’s second largest land mammal. An average adult male weighs about 300 pounds while females average about 170 pounds.
    DEC Region 8 Wildlife Manager Mike Wasilco said black bear sightings in Schuyler County are not uncommon.
    However, Wasilco explained this is the start of the breeding season for black bears. He said adult females will be driving off cubs to make them find new territory and adult male bears will also be protecting the territory they already control.
    Wasilco added bird feeders and food for outdoor pets can attract bears onto people’s property. He explained the DEC recommends only placing out bird feeders in the winter, or between December and April, when the birds need the food. He said bears can easily destroy a feeder, even bending a stand-alone metal holder, just to get to the food.
    Wasilco said bears will return to a property if the person keeps putting out food. DEC has adopted a rule prohibiting the deliberate and intentional feeding of black bears. The incidental, indirect feeding of black bears is also unlawful after a written warning has been issued by the department.